Several countries have issued statements of condemnation over the killing of renowned Libyan human rights activist Salwa Bughaighis on Wednesday.
Bughaighis was stabbed and shot by attackers who stormed her house in Benghazi, injuring a security guard and kidnapping her husband Essam Al-Ghariani in the process, according to the Guardian.
Bughaighis and Al-Ghariani-- a member of Benghazi's municipal council -- had just returned from voting in Libya's general elections.
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice condemned the "brutal and senseless" murder of the activist, whom she met after Muammar Gaddafi's ouster in late 2011.
"We join the Libyan people in mourning the loss of Salwa Bughaighis and call on all Libyans to reject violent extremists seeking to silence their opponents and derail the aspirations of the Libyan people," AFP quoted Rice as saying.
The European Union condemned the killing, while Amnesty International called on authorities to investigate the incident.
In a press statement, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called on Libyan authorities to "thoroughly investigate" the assassination and bring the perpetrators to justice.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka also offered their condolences to her family.
“Today the entire UN Women family is shocked and dismayed…we mourn the loss of a sister and courageous human rights defender,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said during a news conference in New York.
On his Twitter account, British Ambassador to Libya Michael Aron said he was "devastated about the horrific murder" and described Bughaighis as a "leading light of the 17 February revolution and a human rights champion."
Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch's emergencies director and an expert in humanitarian crises, said Bughaighis was "one of the few" who continued to challenge the threat of Islamist militias despite increased threats and violence.
"After years of standing up to Muammar Gaddafi’s tyranny and defending Islamist activists, some of whom were now trying to impose their views on her and other women, she continued to stand up for herself and other Libyan women," he asserted in a report published on the website of the international rights body.
Bughaighis was a prominent figure of Libya's 2011 uprising against the Gaddafi regime, which led to civil war and resulted in his killing and ouster. She was a member of the National Transitional Council (NTC), the rebels' political leadership body, during the eight-month war.
According to the Associated Press, under Gaddafi, Bughaighis represented families of prisoners in Tripoli's Abu Selim prison. She pressed the government for the truth of what happened to 1,200 prisoners, mostly Islamists from Benghazi, who had disappeared.
Libya's police spokesman, Ibrahim Al-Sharaa, said her house is located in an area where two powerful Islamic militias, Ansar Al-Sharia and Rafallah Sahati,are operating, the agency reported.
Ansar Al-Sharia is accused of attacking the US mission in Benghazi in September 2011 in which four embassy staff were killed, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Libya has seen several violent incidents during this week’s election; an attack by Islamist militias in Benghazi on a convoy resulted in the death of seven soldiers and injury of 53 others, AFP stated.