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Published: Monday January 27, 2014 MYT 6:15:02 AM
Updated: Monday January 27, 2014 MYT 6:15:02 AM

Libya says five kidnapped Egyptian diplomats freed

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in Tripoli in retaliation for Egypt's arrest of a Libyan militia commander have been freed, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Razak Al-Grady said on Sunday.

Gunman snatched four diplomatic staff from their homes in the Libyan capital on Saturday, including the cultural attache, and kidnapped another on Friday, forcing Cairo to evacuate its embassy and its Benghazi consulate.

"All them have been freed," Grady told Reuters, without detailing how they were released.

He said three were already back home, and another three were on the way back to Tripoli. Five were diplomats and another man taken with them was an embassy employee.

Libya's government said earlier the diplomats had been snatched in reaction to the arrest of Shaban Hadia, commander of the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries, a powerful militia in Libya.

Kidnappers on Saturday called Dubai-based Arab channel Al Arabiya, demanding Hadia's release in 24 hours, and put one of the Egyptian diplomats on the line to plead for the demands.

(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in Cairo; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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