February 22 (Al Jazeera) – Libya’s powerful interior minister survived an assassination attempt after his motorcade came under fire outside the capital, sources close to him have told Al Jazeera.
Fathi Bashagha had finished a meeting on Sunday with the chairman of the national oil corporation and was returning to Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), when his convoy came under attack by unidentified gunmen.
The 58-year-old escaped unharmed, a source said. One of the assailants was killed in the attack while two others were arrested.
Bashagha has in recent months drawn the ire of several armed groups in Tripoli after announcing plans to demobilise militias and reintegrate them into the formal security apparatus.
Libya has been mired in conflict since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
The North African country, a significant oil producer, has been divided between the GNA and a rival administration in the east, both of whom are supported by an array of local and international actors.
Bashagha, who has served as the interior minister of the UN-recognised GNA since October 2018, was seen as a favourite to succeed the last head, Fayez al-Sarraj.
That position finally went to Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, a 61-year-old businessman from Misrata who was elected as prime minister by Libyan delegates from both sides at the UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva last month.
The new interim government is tasked with leading the country through elections, scheduled for December.