Militants: Libyan PM kidnapped over Al Qaeda leader arrest
The first picture released by captors show the Libyan prime minister after gunmen stormed his hotel on Thursday morning. (Al Arabiya)
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The Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped on Thursday after armed men stormed a hotel he was residing in Tripoli, a move believed to be a reaction to the arrest of a senior Al Qaeda member earlier this week.
The country’s Justice Minister Salah Al Marghani has confirmed the kidnap reports to Al Arabiya.
A group of former Libyan rebels claimed that they have arrested the prime minister on Thursday because of his government's role in the US capture of a top al Qaeda suspect in the Libyan capital last Saturday.
“His arrest comes after the statement by John Kerry about the capture of Abu Anas Al Libi, after he said the Libyan government was aware of the operation," a spokesman for the group, known as the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries, said referring to the US Secretary of State.
Earlier on the day, the Libyan government announced the kidnap by a brief statement on their website.
“The head of the transitional government, Ali Zeidan, was taken to an unknown destination for unknown reasons by a group” of men believed to be former rebels, the official statement said.
Guards at the Corinthia Hotel said gunmen had taken Zeidan from the hotel but there were no shots fired or clashes during the incident.
One guard described it as an “arrest” while another told Reuters the men were militants.
But Libya’s general prosecutor office denied to Al Arabiya reports that it issued an order to arrest Zeidan.
Al Arabiya television channel has also showed video stills of Zeidan frowning and wearing a grey shirt undone at the collar surrounded by several men in civilian clothes pressing closely around him.