source: Press TV

Tripoli, 27 Jumadil Awwal 1435/28 March 2014 (MINA) – All five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in the Libyan capital Tripoli by militants have been freed, according to Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Razak al-Grady.

    “All them have been freed,” Grady said on Sunday, without providing information on how they were released, according to a Press TV report quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).

Four Egyptian diplomats were abducted from their homes on Saturday with another seized on Friday evening, forcing Cairo to evacuate its embassy in Tripoli and consulate in Benghazi. And an embassy employee was also taken with the diplomats.

Grady said three were already back home, and three were on the way back to Tripoli.

The Libyan government said that the Egyptian officials were kidnapped in retaliation for the arrest of a Libyan militia commander by Egyptian authorities.

On Friday, Libya’s state news agency reported that Egyptian authorities had arrested Shaaban Hadiya, the commander of the Operations Room for Libya Revolutionaries. The group was accused of briefly abducting Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in October last year.

Libyans rose up against former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade rule in February 2011 and deposed him in August 2011. He was slain on October 20 of the same year.

Since 2011, Benghazi has been the scene of numerous attacks and political assassinations amidst increasing power struggle among several militias who fought against Gaddafi during the uprising.

The former rebels refuse to lay down their arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.

Over the past few months, Tripoli and its suburbs have been hit by violent clashes between rival militias.

The abduction of the five on Saturday and of another member of the Egyptian embassy’s staff a day earlier came after Shaaban Hadeia, a prominent commander in the rebellion that ousted Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, was arrested in Alexandria.

The Egyptians’ release was confirmed after Hadeia, head of the Operations Centre of Libya’s Thuwar (revolutionaries), announced his release himself on television.

“They are at home and they are safe. They were treated well and their health is good,” Gridi said, without elaborating on the circumstances of their release.

A Libyan security official speaking on condition of anonymity said the kidnappers freed the six as part of a deal between Tripoli and Cairo.

The official said the kidnappers, who have not been identified, demanded the release of Hadeia, also known by his nom de guerre Abu Obeida. (T/P04/E01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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