Libyan prime minister kidnapped by gunmen, official says
Armed gunmen have kidnapped Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan and taken him to an undisclosed location, according to a government official.
Zeidan was seized early Thursday from a hotel where he was staying in Tripoli, The Associated Press reported, citing an official who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
The official said gunmen broke into the luxury hotel in downtown Tripoli where Zeidan lives and abducted him and two of his guards. The guards were beaten but later released.
The abduction comes after Saturday's U.S. special forces raid that captured Abu Anas al-Libi, a suspected militant wanted by America for more than a decade over the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.
Some militia groups angry over the raid have hinted at retaliation at U.S. and other foreign interests and have lashed out at the government, accusing it of colluding with Washington, the Associated Press reported.
Immediately after the raid, the Libyan government issued a statement saying it was carried out without its knowledge and asking Washington for "clarifications" about the operation.
The snatching of Zidan came hours after he met with the family of al-Libi, whose real name is Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai. U.S. officials said al-Libi was immediately taken out of the country after the raid Saturday in Tripoli and is now being held on a U.S. warship.
On Tuesday, Zidan said the Libyan government had requested that Washington allow al-Libi's family to establish contact with him. Zidan insisted that Libyan citizens should be tried in their homeland if they are accused of crimes, stressing that "Libya does not surrender its sons."
However, the prime minister also took a step back from further criticism of the U.S., saying, "The U.S. was very helpful to Libya during the revolution and the relations should not be affected by an incident, even if it is a serious one."
Zidan's abduction reflected the weakness of Libya's government, which is virtually held hostage by powerful militias, many of which are made up of Islamic militants.