An armed mob broke into the Russian Embassy compound in the Libyan capital Tripoli Wednesday after a Russian woman was accused of killing a Libyan air force pilot, and one of the attackers was killed by random gunfire, Libyan officials said. The Russian Foreign Ministry said none of the embassy staff was wounded.
The Libyan official said the attackers climbed the walls of the embassy compound from three different directions, firing randomly in the air, and broke down its metal gate. The random gunfire wounded five, one of whom later died.
He said the attackers also brought down the Russian flag hanging in the balcony of one of the buildings. But the attackers didn’t enter the embassy buildings, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed the attack, saying on Ekho Moskvy radio that according to preliminary information no one among the embassy personnel was wounded.
The attackers were apparently reacting to the killing of a Libyan air force pilot Tuesday. Libyan authorities apprehended a Russian woman, accusing her of killing the pilot, then writing offensive graffiti in his blood. The woman later went on to stab and wound the pilot’s mother, authorities say.
Her alleged motives were not clear. In the graffiti scribbled on the walls, she allegedly expressed sentiments against the Libyan uprising that finally drove longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi from power after an eight-month civil war in 2011.
An attack last year on a U.S. compound in the eastern city of Benghazi killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Libya has been hit by a months-long wave of targeted killings against activists, judges and security agents.
On Wednesday, gunmen in Benghazi shot dead a naval officer and his seven-year-old son before fleeing the scene. Most killings are presumed to be the work of armed factions, often acting out of revenge.