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Libya: violent attacks against staff strongly condemned by ICRC

05-08-2012 News Release

Geneva/Tripoli (ICRC) – At approximately 6.45 a.m. today, unknown individuals, using various kinds of heavy weaponry, attacked the residence of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Misrata in Libya. Seven members of the ICRC’s staff were inside when the attack occurred: they were unharmed, but the building suffered extensive damage.

This is the fifth time, in less than three months, that violence has been directed against the ICRC in the cities of Misrata and Benghazi. The organization strongly condemns these acts against its staff and its premises and wishes to remind all those concerned that humanitarian personnel should be respected at all times.

"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, the head of the ICRC’s delegation in Libya. The ICRC 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. This most recent attack could have had very grave consequences for our colleagues," Mr Khan said.  

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate: to protect the lives and dignity of people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.

The ICRC is not involved in political or religious activities of any kind, neither in Libya nor anywhere else. It has a presence in 80 countries around the world.

For further information, please contact:

Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +218 913 066 198

Soumaya Beltifa, ICRC Misrata, tel: +218 92 3 30 4 560

Jean-Yves Clemenzo, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 792 173 217 or +41 22 730 22 71