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Libya: Intelligence chief resigns, citing political 'chaos'

Parliament blames the worsening security situation for security chief resignation who says he is 'doubtful' of goverment legitimacy
Businessman and prime minister-elect Ahmed Miitig holds a cabinet meeting (AFP)

Libyan intelligence chief Salem al-Hassi has submitted his resignation to parliament, a lawmaker said late on Thursday.

In his resignation, he cited political "chaos" in Libya, where two politicians are locked in a struggle over the post of prime minister.

Hassi, who had been in the post since February 2012, was involved in a 1984 bid to assassinate former dictator Muammar Gaddafi who was overthrown in 2011. 

In his letter of resignation, quoted by Libyan daily al-Wasat, Hassi blamed “a lack of political stability and the commissioning of a government with doubtful legitimacy and weak institutions.” 

However, a member of the parliament’s national security committee, Abdel-Moneim al-Yasir, told Anadolu that Hassi had resigned in protest at the deteriorating security situation in the country.

His resignation comes a day after the High Court postponed its ruling on the legitimacy of prime minister-elect Ahmed Miitig’s claim to power. The parliament’s National Security Committe has not yet officially accepted the resignation. 

The debacle between Miitig and Abdullah al-Thani, who resigned as prime minister in April and said he would cede power to Miitig “in a week or two”, comes amid an ever-worsening security situation in the country.

Fears of a possible civil war have mounted in recent weeks, since renegade general Khalifa Haftar declared war on armed militias in Benghazi, some of which have been absorbed into the official national army.

Recent fighting between the two sides has left scores dead in the restive eastern city. Haftar says his anti-militia campaign, dubbed "Operation Dignity," aims to "purge" Libya of "extremists" although the government in Tripoli has described Haftar's campaign as an attempted coup.

During his resignation Hassi warned that the government is unsuitable for the “challenges” Libya faces.

There have since been unconfirmed reports on social media that Hassi has travelled to Benghazi after submitting his resignation. 

Translation: We should call things as they are: Salem al-Hassi did not resign. He fled, or at least jumped ship before it sinks

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