On Thursday there was an attempt to assassinate Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah with assailants spraying his car with bullets. As per a source close to the Prime Minister, Dbeibah has escaped the attempt on his life.
According to the source, the assassination attempt occurred when Dbeibah was returning home. Following the attack the assailants fled the scene. An investigation is now on.
The development is likely to aggravate the crisis over control of Libya after Dbeibah said he will ignore a vote by the eastern-based parliament scheduled for later today to replace him.
In recent weeks, the Libyan army has mobilised more visibly in the capital raising fears the political crisis could trigger fighting.
Following the 2011 NATO backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has seen little peace or stability since it is split between two warring factions in the east and the west.
In March 2021, Dbeibah was installed as the head of the U.N.-backed Government of National Unity (GNU) that was meant to unify the country’s divided institutions and oversee the run-up to an election in December as part of a peace process.
With the election process falling apart midst a dispute over rules. rival factions have jostled for power and over the legitimacy of Dbeibah’s own candidacy for president after he pledged not to run.
The parliament, which mostly backed eastern forces during the civil war, has declared the GNU invalid; it is scheduled to hold a vote later today to name a new prime minister to form another government.
In a speech earlier this week, Dbeibah had said he would hand over power only after an election; the U.N.’s Libya adviser and Western countries have said they continue to recognise the GNU.
The parliament has said no elections would be held this year, after it and another political body amended the country’s temporary constitution, dismaying the many Libyans who had registered to vote.
The parliament’s move to select a new prime minister is likely to lead to a return of the situation before Dbeibah’s unity government was installed – with parallel administrations seeking to rule Libya from different cities, which if not controlled could fuel, in the medium to long term, civil war.