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Senior Libyan official assassinated, raising fears of postwar security

CAIRO — A senior Libyan security official was assassinated outside his home in the eastern city of Benghazi, officials said Wednesday. His death was the latest in a series of mysterious killings that have raised fears about the country’s precarious postwar security.

The official, Faraj Mohammed al-Drissi, who had held the post of Benghazi’s security director for only a few weeks, was shot to death late Tuesday night as he was returning from work, according to Wanis al-Sharif, a local Interior Ministry official.

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About 10 p.m., a car pulled up on Drissi’s street and three men got out and opened fire, Sharif said, adding that the motive was unknown.

The killing was the latest blow for Benghazi, which has staggered since armed men attacked US intelligence and diplomatic buildings in September, killing four Americans in an assault that upended the city’s fragile power structure. The attack led to a popular revolt against the militias that have held sway since the uprising against Moammar Khadafy last year, including hard-line Islamist groups, which have been criticized for being a law unto themselves.

Government officials loudly promised to assert the state’s control, while privately conceding that they were outgunned and incapable of fulfilling such a pledge. Militia leaders have rejected efforts by the government to rein them in, saying they would consider disbanding only if their leaders were given senior posts in the government.

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