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Libya's interim prime minister submits resignation

Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani has handed in his resignation, citing an attempted attack on his family. He is the second Libyan premier to leave the post in as many months.

A statement posted on the Libyan government's website on Sunday said that interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani had handed in his resignation to the country's parliament after gunmen had attempted to attack members of his family one day earlier.

The interim prime minister said that by stepping down he was seeking "to protect the interests of the country and so as not to drag different sides into fighting when there can be no winner."

Al-Thani, who said he would stay on as head of the cabinet until a replacement could be found, failed to provide any details of what he described as a "cowardly attack." A spokesman for his office told the Reuters news agency that nobody had been hurt in the incident, which he described as a "near miss" outside of the interim prime minister's home.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the country's parliament, the General National Congress, would accept al-Thani's resignation.

"We are meeting now and we're looking for someone to replace him," Mohamed Ali Abdallah, the head of parliament's planning and budget committee, said.

Ongoing instability

Al-Thani's decision to step down is widely regarded as being symptomatic of the

turmoil the Libyan authorities have been in

since the overthrow of longtime strongman, the late Moammar Gadhafi three years ago. During that time, the country's fledgling security forces have failed to disarm and demobilize many of the militias who helped take down Gadhafi's army.

The militia connections also extend into the parliament, making it extremely difficult to find a candidate for prime minister capable of bridging such divisions.

Al-Thani was defense minister under the previous prime minister,

Ali Zidan,

who himself was briefly abducted by militiamen last year. Lawmakers voted Zidan out of office last month after he failed to end a standoff with

rebels occupying key ports

used to export Libyan oil.

pfd/msh (Reuters,AP)

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