MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – All personnel at the Russian Embassy in Libya have been evacuated to Tunisia following an armed attack believed to be revenge for the killing of a Libyan army officer and his mother, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.
A group of gunmen stormed the embassy compound in Tripoli on Wednesday night and fired several shots as “embassy staff and their family members took shelter in secure premises,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.
The attack was likely perpetrated by the friends and relatives of an army officer and his mother who were killed a day earlier, allegedly by Russian woman Yekaterina Ustyuzhaninova, Lukashevich said.
He added that the woman had been detained and was currently under investigation, but he did not give further details about the case.
He said all the embassy staff “safely crossed the border with Tunisia” and most would fly to Russia on Friday. Some diplomats will remain in Tunisia, he added, to maintain contacts with Libyan authorities.
Libya’s Interior Ministry said in an earlier statement that about 10 people driving two cars opened fire on the embassy, tried to break into the compound, and set fire to an embassy car.
Libyan security guards intervened in the attack, killing one gunman and wounding four others, the Associated Press reported.
None of the embassy staff or local security forces were injured in the attack, the Russian ministry said, although the facade of the building was slightly damaged. The ministry has advised Russian nationals to avoid traveling to Libya.
Libyan authorities have assured Russia they that will do all they can to preserve the “moveable and immovable property” of the embassy, the Russian spokesman added.
The Libyan Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that it condemned the attack on the embassy and pledged to diligently oversee the investigation into the incident.
(Adds Libyan Foreign Ministry’s reaction in last paragraph)