Libya's interior minister resigns amid criticism over security lapses

Libya's Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelal resigned Sunday following criticism amid recent security incidents in the capital.

Story highlights

  • Fawzi Abdelal submits his resignation to the prime minister
  • Recent incidents such as vandalism against mosques and car bombings have prompted criticism
  • The car bombings were blamed on former loyalists of the Gadhafi regime
Libya's Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelal resigned Sunday, the official state news agency LANA reported, after his ministry came under harsh criticism following recent security incidents in the capital.
Abdelal submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Abdul Rahim al-Kib the same day members of the country's newly elected General National Congress summoned security officials and the prime minister for questioning about the incidents.
Abdelal was not present at the session.
His resignation comes a day after reports circulated that both Abdelal and Defense Minister Osama Juwaila were going to be fired.
On Saturday, a group of Islamist radicals attacked a Sufi shrine in the center of Tripoli and started to bulldoze the mosque.
According to eyewitnesses, security forces from the Interior Ministry were present while the destruction was taking place.
Two other Sufi shrines, one in the city of Zliten and one in Misrata, were also desecrated in recent days.
The attacks were condemned by top Libyan government officials, including the deputy prime minister who tweeted Saturday that he had asked the Interior and Defense Ministries to protect the shrines, but they had not responded.
According to eyewitnesses and pictures circulating on social media websites, members of a Salafi movement were responsible for the destruction of the Tripoli mosque.
Hardline Islamists oppose religious practices of Muslim sects like the Sufis.
Last week, at least two car bombs detonated in Tripoli, killing two people.
The attacks were blamed on former regime loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi. Security forces announced the arrests of 32 people following the bombings in connection with what seemed to have been a coordinated bombing last Sunday.
It was the first deadly bomb attack in the capital since the fall of Tripoli a year ago.
Security ministries came under fire for the security lapses.