Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been freed by former rebels who seized him from a hotel earlier on Thursday , sources told Al Arabiya.
Zeidan was seized by former rebels working for the Interior Ministry and was held at the ministry’s anti-crime department, according to Reuters.
The group, which in principle reports to the defense and interior ministries, said on its Facebook page it had seized Zeidan “on the prosecutor’s orders.” The premier “was arrested under the Libyan penal code... on the instructions of the public prosecutor,” the group said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Libya’s general-prosecutor’s office, however, denied reports that it issued an order to arrest Zeidan, in comments made to Al Arabiya.
The former rebels claimed that they seized the prime minister because of his government’s role in the U.S. capture of a top al-Qaeda suspect in the Libyan capital on Saturday . “His arrest comes after the statement by [U.S. Secretary of State] 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, according to Reuters.
Earlier on in the day, the Libyan government issued a brief statement on the incident.
“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.
Zeidan was taken on Thursday morning, after gunmen stormed a hotel he was residing in in Tripoli.
Guards at the Corinthia Hotel said gunmen had taken Zeidan from the hotel but there were no shots fired or clashes during the incident.
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.