Libyan activist shot dead in Benghazi

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 26, 2013 11:33 AM

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Gunmen killed a lawyer and prominent Libyan political activist in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, a security official and residents said.

The attack appeared to be the first against an activist in the city although security forces have been frequently targeted.

Lawyer Abdelsalam al-Mosmary was killed after he left a mosque to make his way home.

"He was coming out of Friday prayers when he was shot," Benghazi security spokesman Mohammed al-Hijazy said. "It seems it may have been the work of a sniper because he was shot in the heart."

Appearing regularly on television, Mosmary would voice his discontent over the presence of armed militias on Libya's streets as well as his opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.

"This has never happened before, this a first in Benghazi," said Kais al-Bakshishi, a political activist.

Benghazi is where the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began in February 2011 but is now a hot spot for violence, with numerous attacks on security forces.

Libya's weak central government is struggling to assert its authority over armed groups which helped topple Gaddafi but have yet to lay down their weapons. Islamist militants have also come to the fore.

In September, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

(Reporting by Ghaith Shennib and Feras Bosalum; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Angus MacSwanj)