The attack occurred as the minister was returning home after visiting the National Oil Corporation. One of Bashagha’s guards and one of attackers were killed during the exchange of fire, while two of the assailants were arrested, according to press reports.
The attack comes just weeks after Libyan belligerents agreed to a transitional government that will lead the country to national elections scheduled for December this year.
US ambassador Richard Norland expressed his “indignation” after the attack and affirmed in a telephone call with the Libyan minister Washington’s complete support to the efforts of Mr. Bachagha to “put an end to the influence of the militias”, according to a press release of the embassy.
Since the fall of former dictator Muammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya has descended into chaos and struggle for power between various armed factions.
In October, a cease-fire was signed between the two main parties — the Tripoli-based GNA and the forces of General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).