By Thomas Grove
MOSCOW/ Oct 2 Russia's embassy in the Libyan
capital of Tripoli came under fire on Wednesday and a group of
people tried to force their way into the compound, the Russian
Foreign Ministry said.
A diplomatic source in Libya said security guards fired
shots to disperse about 60 people that had approached the
embassy. The compound was quickly secured by guards and
according to the Foreign Ministry no diplomats were wounded in
The attack was symptomatic of the volatility of the country
two years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Clan and
tribal rivalries, as well as Islamist groups, have flourished in
the absence of strong central government, and security services,
themselves riven, have struggled to maintain order.
There have been a number of attacks on Western diplomats by
militant groups, the worst being directed against the U.S.
consulate in Benghazi where the American Ambassador was killed
"In Tripoli ...a shooting occurred and there was an attempt
to enter the territory of the Russian embassy in Libya,"
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Russian
"According to the most preliminary information there were no
injuries among members of the Russian diplomatic mission."
The reason for the attack was not immediately clear, but one
diplomatic source said it did not appear to be directly linked
to any militant group. He said a Ukrainian woman had killed a
Libyan on Tuesday and then sought refuge in the Russian embassy.
The crowd had then come to protest and look for her.
The Russian Itar Tass news agency cited unnamed sources as
saying that the embassy territory was now fully under control.
"In the evening hours, an armed attack was carried out on
the diplomatic mission and an attempt was undertaken to get
inside. The attackers opened fire and tore the Russian flag."
The sources said Libyan authorities were searching for the
Militants linked to al Qaeda affiliates attacked the U.S.
consulate in Benghazi and killed Christopher Stevens, the U.S.
ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans on Sept. 11,
Western powers, using air power, led the military campaign
that ultimately toppled Gaddafi. Russia, however, did not take
part in the action and condemned what it called the West's abuse
of a United Nations Security Council to intervene.