Skip to main content

Gunmen seize 10 hostages from Tunisian consulate in Libya

Tunisian officials reportedly believe there may be connection between the incident and a Libya Dawn member
The Tunisian consulate in the Libyan capital, Tripoli (AFP)

Ten employees of the Tunisian consulate in Libya's capital Tripoli are being held hostage after their complex was reportedly stormed on Friday.

Gunmen seized the employees late on Friday at the consulate and may still be holding them hostage on site.

Mokhtar Chaouachi, a spokesman for the Tunisian foreign ministry, told Al Jazeera that it was not known whether the attackers had made any demands for the exchange of the captives.

Some Tunisian officials have suggested the incident is connected to Walid Kalib, a member of Libya Dawn, who was arrested in Tunisia in May on kidnapping charges, Al Jazeera reported.

Tunisian authorities, who formed a crisis cell to respond, said they will "do whatever needs to be done" to secure their release.

Khalifa Ghwell, prime minister for the Tripoli-based National Salvation Government, told Associated Press that his government was also working to free the employees.

"Everything will be fine, God willing," Ghwell told reporters.

Last month, a militia forming part of the coalition that rules Tripoli seized 245 Tunisians in the Libyan capital. All were later released unharmed. 

A Tunisian diplomat and an embassy employee were kidnapped last year before being released.

And in January, the Libyan branch of the Islamic State group claimed the killing of two Tunisian journalists who had gone missing in eastern Libya eight months earlier. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.