June 12, 2015 / 2:19 PM / 3 years ago

Armed group storms Tunisian consulate in Libyan capital, kidnap 10 staff

TUNIS (Reuters) - An armed group stormed the Tunisian consulate in the Libyan capital Tripoli and kidnapped 10 staff on Friday, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry did not identify the armed group, but called the assault a “blatant attack on Tunisian national sovereignty and a flagrant violation of international laws”.

Tunisia is one of only a few countries which still has a mission in Tripoli, a city which is controlled by a group that has set up its own government, a rival to Libya’s internationally recognized leaders.

Tunisian authorities last month arrested Walid Kalib, a member of that rival group, Libya Dawn. On Thursday, a Tunisian court refused to release Kalib who faces kidnapping charges in Tunisia.

Libya Dawn, a loose alliance of former rebel brigades and Islamist-leaning groups, seized power in Tripoli last summer, expelling the internationally recognized government to the east.

Most countries closed their embassies during the fighting.

Relations between the North African neighbors have become increasingly tense, with Tunisia’s government worried about spillover from the chaos that continues to plague Libya four years after the overthrow of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Reporting by Tarek Amara and Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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