Libyan PM: My Kidnapping Was an Attempted Coup

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan says his kidnapping and released was an attempted coup against his government.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan
Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan called Thursday’s incident when gunmen kidnapped and released him in the same day as an attempted coup against his government in a national television address on Friday.

“This is a coup against national legitimacy,” Zeidan was quoted by Al Arabiya as having said, after recounting how armed gunmen with a convoy of “100 vehicles” arrived at midnight at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli where he was staying.

He said the gunmen “must have worked under a command of leaders who want to impede the process to build a civil state.”

Zeidan cautioned that “there are elements that want to topple the government,” and turn Libya into other war-torn countries such as Afghanistan or Somalia.

The group which whisked Zeidan from the hotel was the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries, which has criticized him in recent weeks.

Zeidan said the gunmen “who terrorized people in the hotel” and looted all his belongings including important government papers, falsified statements by Libya’s Attorney General, saying he was asked to resign.

“They lied about the Attorney General ordering me to resign,” he said, according to Al Arabiya, adding that “what was done was a barbaric act that doesn’t suit a civilized country.”

Zeidan said the government is going to hunt down his kidnappers and bring them to justice.

“The violence in Benghazi is a clear sign that these elements do not want a civil state, and the bombings don’t need an explanation either,” he added.

On Friday, a car bomb exploded outside the Swedish consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, damaging the front of the building and nearby houses. No immediate casualties were reported.

The group that kidnapped Zeidan said that the kidnapping, which it termed an “arrest,” came in response to the detaining of top Al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Anas al-Liby in Tripoli last weekend.

Liby was on the FBI's most wanted list, with a $5 million prize on his head over his role in the bombings of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya in 1998, as well as other attacks. The U.S. had been actively searching for him for 15 years.

Al-Liby is currently held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea where he is being questioned by an elite U.S. interrogation team.

Shortly after being released on Thursday, Zeidan tweeted, “If the aim of the kidnapping operation was for me to present my resignation, then I won't resign.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)