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Sunday, 2 March 2014 | MYT 11:40 PM

Gunmen kill French national in Libya's Benghazi

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Gunmen killed a French national in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi on Sunday, a security official said, the latest slaying of a foreigner in the restive area.

Separately, gunmen in Benghazi also shot and wounded an Egyptian who had been working in a grocery, and a Libyan police officer survived an assassination attempt, a security source said.

The Frenchman, Patrice Real, worked for a company upgrading a large hospital in Benghazi, which has been rocked by car bombs and assassinations amid Islamist militant activity, the official said.

"He was killed with three shots," the official said.

France's foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the killing as "odious and cowardly" and calling for its perpetrators to be identified.

A week ago, police found seven Egyptian Christians shot dead execution-style on a beach outside Benghazi, home to several oil firms. No one has claimed responsibility for that killing.

Most countries have closed their consulates in Benghazi and some foreign airlines have stopped flying there since the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an Islamist militant onslaught in September 2012.

An American schoolteacher was also killed by gunmen in December while he exercised in the city.

Three years after the revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's weak government and army are struggling to control brigades of former rebels and Islamist militias in a country awash with weapons.

Western diplomats worry that the violence in Benghazi will spill over to the capital, Tripoli.

In January, a British man and a New Zealand woman were shot execution-style on a beach 100 km (60 miles) west of Tripoli.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Feras Bosalum; Additional reporting by Nicholas Vinocur in Paris; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Dale Hudson and Sonya Hepinstall)


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