Libya’s internationally recognized prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, said on Tuesday he had survived an assassination attempt after leaving a session of the anarchic country’s elected parliament.
The incident highlighted the unraveling of state authority in the North African country in which two governments and parliaments allied to armed factions are fighting for control four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi.
Thinni has faced increasing criticism for running an ineffective state in the east since losing the capital Tripoli in the west to a rival faction that now controls ministries and key state bodies based there.
Thinni told pan-Arab news channel al-Arabiya that after he left parliament in the town of Tobruk and drove off, gunmen in several cars followed his entourage and opened fire.
Parliament speaker Aqila Saleh had asked Thinni to leave the assembly for his safety after protesters opposed to his government gathered outside the naval base where the parliament meets, two lawmakers told Reuters.
It was the latest disruption in a tumultuous year for the House of Representatives, which has, like Thinni, struggled to stamp its authority over an increasingly fragmented country.
Thinni’s government had originally planned to set up parliament in the main eastern city of Benghazi but relocated to Tobruk near the Egyptian border after Benghazi turned into a battleground between the government and Islamist fighters.