Reports emanating from the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi indicate that four policemen were killed on Sunday following an attack believed to be linked to the recent detention of two men in connection with several assassinations of security officials in the city.
Police spokesman Khaled Hidar has been reported saying that unknown assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the station that houses patrol cars, damaging an office and killing one policeman. Then in the long gun battle that followed, three more policemen who were sent to the compound as reinforcement were also killed.Three other policemen were injured.
Hidar said that that two men recently detained in connection with a series of assassinations in the city, including that of Benghazi police chief Faraj al-Deirsy last month, were being held in the police station next door.
Hidar said that Libya’s new interior minister had ordered police reinforcements to Benghazi.
Libya’s government is struggling to contain former fighters and militias who gained power during last year’s uprising, which started in Benghazi and eventually overthrew the dictatorial Gaddafi regime.
Sunday's attack followed clashes that broke out on Saturday and that left three security forces killed in the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid after the security forces tried to make an arrest in the town.
In September, in the worst of a string of attacks on international convoys and official buildings in Benghazi, the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.