Skip to main content

After attack on family, Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni steps down

From Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
updated 6:59 PM EDT, Sun April 13, 2014
Abdullah al-Thinni is seen on March 7, while serving as Libya' Defense Minister.
Abdullah al-Thinni is seen on March 7, while serving as Libya' Defense Minister.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Abdullah al-Thinni is stepping down after he and his family were attacked
  • He said the attack, a "cowardly" shooting, "terrified people"
  • A resident in al-Thinni's Tripoli neighborhood told CNN a militia was responsible

(CNN) -- Libya's newly appointed Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni stepped down from his post on Sunday after an attack on him and his family.

The General National Congress, the country's interim parliament, appointed al-Thinni Tuesday as interim prime minister and gave him a week to form a new cabinet.

In a letter to the GNC posted on the government's website, al-Thinni said he and his family were the victims of a "cowardly attack" on Saturday night, a "shooting that terrified people in a residential area and endangered the lives of some."

"I do not accept a single drop of Libyan blood be shed because of me and I do not accept to be a reason for fighting among Libyans because of this position," al-Thinni said. "Therefore I apologize for not accepting my designation as interim prime minister."

Al-Thinni said he and members of the cabinet will continue their work as a caretaker government until a new prime minister is chosen by the GNC.

Before his appointment on Tuesday, al-Thinni had taken over the cabinet as acting prime minister after his predecessor, Ali Zeidan, was voted out by the GNC last month.

Zeidan, who was briefly kidnapped by a militia while in office, fled to Germany after his ouster because of security threats.

There were no injuries reported in the attack on al-Thinni and his family, and no details about the incident were released.

A resident in the neighborhood told CNN that al-Thinni was with his family when his convoy came under attack by a militia close to the area where he lives in Tripoli. After they escaped the attack and entered the neighborhood close to Tripoli's airport road, heavy gunfire erupted in the area.

There have been increased concerns about the worsening security situation in Libya and the country's rocky transition to democracy after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The government has so far been unable to build an army and a police force to rein in the hundreds of militia groups with competing interests, ideologies and agendas who continue to destabilize the North African nation.

Officials have frequently been targeted and intimidated by the different militia groups.

While serving as defense minister, al-Thinni's son was kidnapped in Tripoli last September and released earlier this year.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:16 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
updated 2:55 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
updated 9:30 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 10:44 AM EDT, Sat September 20, 2014
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT