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Gunmen abduct Jordanian ambassador in Libya

Jordan’s ambassador to Libya, Fawaz al-Etan, was abducted Tuesday in Tripoli. (PETRA/via AP)

Masked gunmen abducted the Jordanian ambassador in the Libyan capital early Tuesday, officials said, the latest in a wave of abductions in the North African nation still plagued by lawlessness more than two years after the ouster of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

Assailants in two cars opened fire on Ambassador Fawaz al-Etan’s vehicle in central Tripoli near the Jordanian Embassy, wounding his driver before forcing the diplomat out at gunpoint, said Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Said al-Aswad.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it is closely following the case and will “exert all effort to ensure safety of the ambassador.”

A spokeswoman for Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, Sabah al-Rafie, confirmed the kidnapping but had no further details.

Following the kidnapping, Jordan’s national carrier, Royal Jordanian, suspended its flight to Tripoli Tuesday, airline spokesman Basil al-Kilani said.

The ambassador’s sister, Khawala al-Etan, told the Associated Press in Amman that she learned of her brother’s abduction when she saw his picture flash across her TV screen.

She said her brother has been subject to previous kidnapping attempts.

Abductions have been rife in Libya since the country’s 8-month civil war ended with Gaddafi’s killing in October 2011. Diplomats and journalists have been among those targeted in the kidnappings.

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