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Libyan Gunmen Storm Ministries in Three Tripoli Attacks

Gunmen stormed three Libyan ministries in two days, calling for senior Muammar Qaddafi-era officials to be purged from office.

The Justice Ministry was besieged early today, with armed men saying they won’t leave until the so-called Isolation law is passed, according to the state-run LANA news agency. Guards at the Finance Ministry were unhurt after being attacked by the gunmen late yesterday, a spokesman said.

In the attack on the Foreign Ministry, men in trucks armed with anti-aircraft guns encircled the building and blocked its entrance, according to Abubaker Ali Said, an employee. The French Embassy in Tripoli was bombed earlier April 23.

Militia violence has been a constant in Libya since the capture and death of Qaddafi in 2011. It has intensified in recent months with groups refusing to heed government calls to disband, threatening local officials and storming buildings over issues such as unpaid salaries.

The gunmen at the Justice Ministry said it will continue to be a focus of ire, along with the Foreign Ministry, until authorities get rid of all ambassadors who worked under the previous government, LANA reported today.

Parliament was suspended amid the attacks. A vote on the proposed purge law has been delayed several times. Lawmakers are due to debate it May 5. As written, the law will remove any one in a managerial position with ties to the former regime from office.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saleh Sarrar in Dubai at ssarar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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