Egypt diplomats exit Libya after kidnappings

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– TRIPOLI

Egypt’s ambassador and his staff exited from Libya for security reasons after the kidnapping of five of their colleagues, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.
“The ambassador and more than 50 staff and diplomats of the Egyptian embassy left Tripoli on Saturday evening,” ministry spokesman Saeed Lassoued told a foreign news agency, adding that the evacuation had been decided on security grounds.
Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani has linked the kidnappings to the arrest of a prominent former Libyan rebel commander, in Egypt on Friday, who fought in the 2011 uprising against Moamer Kadhafi.
Shaaban Hadeia, head of the Operations Centre of Libya’s Thuwar (revolutionaries), was arrested in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
“We await an explanation from our Egyptian brothers on the accusations against Shaaban Hadeia,” Marghani said late Saturday, while condemning the kidnappings as a “criminal act”.
The foreign ministry, meanwhile, said it was in contact with Cairo requesting information on Hadeia and seeking his early release.
Kidnappers seized Egypt’s cultural attache and three other embassy staff on Saturday, a day after a group snatched another Egyptian official in the city.
Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty has confirmed Hadeia was detained in Egypt.
“If Hadeia’s involvement (in any case) is not established, naturally we will release him,” Abdelatty said, adding investigations were ongoing.

– AGENCIES