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Gunman Storm Libyan TV, Seize Staff

Gunmen stormed headquarters of a privately-owned Libyan television station on Thursday, abducting the channel's owner and four journalists.
By Arutz Sheva staff
First Publish: 3/8/2013, 10:32 AM

gunman (illustrative)
gunman (illustrative)
AFP file

Gunmen stormed the headquarters of a privately-owned Libyan television station on Thursday, abducting the channel's owner and four journalists.

Alassema TV owner Jomaa Al-Osta and four of his staff were detained by unknown assailants, the parliament's human rights commission said in a statement.

According to the AFP news agency, the commission urged the interior ministry "to intervene immediately to release the prisoners."

Mohammed al-Sharkassi, an anchor at Alassema TV, told a national news channel he was seized briefly outside his workplace by "individuals who identified themselves as former rebels."

Speaking on Libya al-Ahrar television, Sharkassi said he was questioned by his abductors and told he would be freed "on condition that I leave Tripoli."

He said his abductors were "former rebels from Tripoli... angered by the editorial policies of Alassema TV", but did not elaborate.  

The station is known to be close to the liberal coalition which came ahead of Islamists in last July's legislative elections.

Mahmud Jibril, who heads the National Forces Alliances coalition, was an architect of the 2011 revolt that toppled Moamer Qaddafi.

Libya al-Ahrar said that several attackers, some of them armed, stormed the headquarters of Alassema TV on Thursday afternoon.

"They entered through the windows," it said.

Libya's official Lana news agency also reported that unidentified assailants stormed the channel, causing "great damage", but did not elaborate.  

Security forces were deployed outside Alassema TV following the attack, according to AFP.

Private newspapers and television stations have flourished in Libya since the ouster of Qaddafi, who had banned private media and any criticism of more than four decades of his iron-fisted rule.