Libya Ministry to Set Up Force to Protect Foreign Missions

Libya has begun to set up a force under the direction of the Interior Ministry dedicated to protecting diplomatic missions, in a bid to curb attacks such as the one that left the U.S. ambassador dead.

Authorities have begun recruiting troops for the unit, Libyan television reported late yesterday. The move follows an attack on the Italian consul in Benghazi. Gunmen opened fire on the diplomat’s vehicle Jan. 12. The official escaped unharmed.

An attack on the American consulate in the same city in September led to the death of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The attack has been blamed on an Islamist group.

Libya’s central government has been struggling to restore order in the wake of Muammar Qaddafi’s ouster and killing in 2011. Libyan premier Ali Zaidan met with his Tunisian and Algerian counterparts on Jan. 12, with the three agreeing to cooperate on security issues in an effort to curb the flow of weapons and infiltration by militants across their porous borders.

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