October 18, 2013 - 16:36 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Unknown gunmen shot dead the top commander of Libya's military police force as he left his house in the eastern city of Benghazi to attend Friday prayers, a security source said, according to Reuters.
"Several shots hit Ahmed al-Barghathi. He was brought to hospital but later died there," the source said.
Benghazi in the restive east of the OPEC producer has been hit by a wave of violence by armed groups and radical Islamists.
Earlier this month, Libyan militants have called for the kidnapping of American citizens in Tripoli and for attacks on gas pipelines, ships and planes to avenge the capture of a senior al Qaeda figure by U.S. special forces in Libya. Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name Abu Anas al-Liby, is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians. He was snatched on the streets of Tripoli on Oct 5, and is being held aboard a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea, U.S. officials said.
Messages posted by Libyan jihadists on the Internet and monitored by the SITE service included a Facebook page called "Benghazi is Protected by its People".
It told Libyans to close off entrances and exits to the capital and kidnap citizens of the United States and its allies in order to use them to bargain for the release of imprisoned militants. It also urged them to damage pipelines exporting gas to Europe, and target ships and planes.
"Libya today is still a place of disbelief that is ruled by something other than the Shariah of Allah; thus, there is no security for disbelievers there," the message said.
In another message posted on forums and social media, a group called "the Revolutionaries of Benghazi - al-Bayda, Derna" condemned the al Qaeda leader's capture.
Since Muammar Gaddafi's fall, Islamist militants, including groups linked to al Qaeda, have used Libya to smuggle out weapons and as a base for fighters.
North Africa is home to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other Islamist affiliates who either cooperate with the network or sympathize with its ideology.