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Red Cross says attacked in Libya's Misrata, halts work

Armed attack on the International Committee of the Red Cross residence in Libya's Misrata prompts organization to halt operating in the restive country

AFP , Sunday 5 Aug 2012
Libya
A member of the military passes underneath a broken window at the offices of the military police in Tripoli. A car bomb exploded near the offices of the military police in Tripoli early on Saturday as the security situation remains poor across the country, (Photo: Reuters).
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Armed assailants laid siege on Sunday to a residence of Red Cross staff in the western Libyan city of Misrata, causing major damage to the building, the organisation said.

Seven staff were in the residence when the "unknown individuals" attacked the building with "various kinds of heavy weaponry" at dawn, said a statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross, adding that they were unharmed.

The ICRC strongly condemned the attack and said it would suspend its work in Misrata and Benghazi in the east following what it called the fifth such incident in the two cities in less than three months.

"We are appalled by this latest act and by the deliberate targeting of our staff: they have put their lives at risk to serve the Libyan people both during and after the conflict," said Ishfaq Muhamed Khan, ICRC delegation head in Libya.

The Geneva-based organisation said that it has become extremely concerned about the "wave of attacks against humanitarian workers and the deterioration of the security situation in Libya."

"Given the circumstances, we are forced to announce, with considerable regret, that we will be suspending all our activities in Misrata and Benghazi and that our delegates in those cities will be temporarily relocated," said Khan.

"This most recent attack could have had very grave consequences for our colleagues," he added.

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