Italy has suspended activity at its Benghazi consulate following a gun attack on its consul general over the weekend.
Along with suspending activity, the country has also withdrawn all staff from the area in an abundance of caution.
The situation serves to highlight the precarious security situation in the North African state where four Americans were killed at the US Consulate in September.
Reuters reports that gunmen opened fire on Guido De Sanctis’s armored car in Benghazi on Saturday, bringing back memories of when US Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi on September 11, along with three other Americans.
The attack occurred as the consul general was leaving the compound in just the latest of a series of attacks that target foreign missions and security officials.
CNN notes that no one was injured in the incident and Libyan police rushed to the scene to secure it. They are not yet sure who was behind the attack. De Sanctis stated:
“It is difficult to make conclusions … but if you look at the past months, some people are trying to send all the foreigners away. The British, the Red Cross and unfortunately the Americans — now us? I was not sure we were on the list. I did not expect it at all.”
De Sanctis added that security has been tightened at the Italian Consulate since the September 11 attack on the Benghazi US Consulate. He stated, however, that the building is not heavily fortified and is open to the public.
Giulio Terzi, Italy’s Foreign Minister, condemned the attack, calling it “a vile act of terrorism.” He added that it was “an attempt to destabilize the institutions of the new Libya.”
There is no word on when the Italian consulate in Benghazi will return to normal operations.