Gunmen attack TV studios in Libya's Benghazi

BENGHAZI- Gunmen attacked the Benghazi studios of two privately run television channels overnight, journalists and security officials said Thursday, as violence in Libya's second city showed no let-up.
The attacks were the latest in a spate of assaults by suspected former-rebel militia on the independent media which have proliferated since the 2011 overthrow of veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

They came a day after 12 children were wounded by a bomb in a school playground in the eastern city, where the central government has struggled to rein in feuding militias.
The television channels targeted were the Doha-based Libya Al-Ahrar, whose chairman Mahmud Shammam served as information minister in the first post-Kadhafi government, and the Cairo-based Libya Al-Oula.
"Armed men threw a Molotov cocktail at the channel's offices, torched an outside broadcast vehicle and fired a hail of bullets at the studio," said Libya Al-Ahrar journalist Khadija al-Ammami, who survived an assassination attempt last August.
Gunmen also broke into the studios of Libya Al-Oula and vandalised them, a security official said.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has repeatedly warned of the threat posed to journalists by former rebel militia, particularly in Benghazi but even in the capital.
On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen abducted Mohammed al-Sarit, a journalist for Tripoli-based channel Al-Assema, and held him for several hours.
But Benghazi, cradle of the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Kadhafi, has borne the brunt of militia violence with near-daily attacks on security and other targets in recent months.

Friday, February 7th 2014

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