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Libyan activist shot dead in Benghazi, 3 killed in eastern Libya

Human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis died in hospital after succumbing to gun shots in an attack in her home, according to officials
Salwa Bugaighis, a lawyer who played an active part in Libya's 2011 revolution, holding a sign reading in Arabic, "no to the chaotic ideology" during a demonstration in Benghazi on 10 May, 2013 (AFP)

Human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis was shot dead by unknown assailants at her home in the restive east Libyan city of Benghazi late Wednesday, hospital and security sources said.

"Unknown hooded men wearing military uniforms attacked Mrs Bugaighis in her home and opened fire on her," said a security official, who did not wish to be named.

She was shot several times and taken to hospital in critical condition, where she died shortly afterwards, a spokesman for the Benghazi medical centre said.

Her husband, who was in the family home at the time of the attack, has since been reported as missing, according to a family member.

"We've lost touch with him," the relative said, adding that a security guard at the house had been shot and injured, but his life was not in danger.

Bugaighis, who was a lawyer, played an active part in Libya's 2011 revolution, which overthrew the regime of Moamer Kadhafi.

A former member of the National Transitional Council, the rebellion's political wing, she was vice president of a preparatory committee for national dialogue in Libya.

The US ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones called the news "heartbreaking", and on her Twitter account denounced "a cowardly, despicable, shameful act against a courageous woman and true Libyan patriot".

Earlier on Wednesday, Bugaighis had participated in Libya's general election. She published photos of herself at a polling station on her Facebook page.

Since the 2011 revolution, the east of Libya -- and in particular the country's second city of Benghazi -- has been a stronghold for jihadists, and the scene of attacks and assassinations targeting notably the military, police and judges.

At least three soldiers deployed to provide polling day security in Benghazi were killed in what security officials said was an attack on their convoy by Islamist militia.

Benghazi, which was the scene of a deadly attack on the US consulate in 2012, has been tense since a rogue former rebel commander launched an offensive against powerful Islamist groups late last month, drawing many regular army units to his side.

3 killed, 35 wounded in eastern Libya clashes

Three people were killed and 35 others wounded on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and the Islamist Rafallah Sahati militia in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

A spokesman for the self-styled Joint Security Room, which is made up of army and police personnel, said a force assigned to guard a Benghazi polling station came under fire outside the headquarters of the Rafallah Sahati militia.

"The members of the force had to respond to the fire," Ibrahim al-Sharaa told Anadolu Agency.

The Islamist Rafallah Sahati brigade was formed following the 2011 uprising against Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. The brigade was named after one of the first Libyans to have died in Benghazi in the fight against Gaddafi's regime.

However, a leading member of the brigade denied al-Sharaa's claim, blaming the the members of the room's force for opening fire on the brigade members.

This is the first tussle between the two sides since they signed a ceasefire almost a month ago.

Libya's polling stations closed their doors late on Wednesday, after a day of voting in the country's parliamentary election.

Around 400,000 voters (out of a total of 1.6 million eligible voters) showed up at polling stations across the country, according to the High National Elections Commission.

This is the second parliamentary election to be held in Libya since the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi.