The recent spate of attacks on Sufi Muslim shrines in Libya has claimed its first political scalp. Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali has resigned due to criticism over his handling of the violence which has raised sectarian fears.
Despite making several arrests, Libya’s rulers are struggling to contain tensions between armed groups vying for power which appear to have sparked clashes among Islamists.
According to Security Officer Massoud Ali, the incident in Zlitan involved a group of wanted, runaway remnants of the Gaddafi regime who came back from areas such as Bani Walid to try to create trouble.
After the latest incidents which included the destruction of Sufi shrines in both Zlitan and Tripoli, police discovered boxes of ammunition, hand grenades and even rocket launchers in houses of the detained suspects.
In the wake of Friday and Saturday’s attacks in which Sufi sites were bulldozed by ultra conservative Islamists, Libya’s congress held an emergency meeting and criticised government security forces for failing to stop them.