Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that a total of six employees of the Egyptian embassy in Tripoli have been kidnapped by an unknown group.
Spokesman Badr Abdelatty said five administrative attachés and one cultural adviser had been kidnapped.
On Friday it emerged that one administrative attaché, Hamdy Ghanem, had been kidnapped, which was confirmed by the ministry via its official Facebook page. The statement added he was “in good condition” and being “treated well”, according to embassy staff that had made contact with him.
The remaining four were seized on Saturday morning.
Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Abdelatty was unable to confirm reports of a link between the kidnappings and the arrest of a Shaaban Hadeia, head of Libyan Revolutionaries Operation Room (LROR).
Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi contacted his Libyan counterpart Ali Zeidan who said Libyan authorities had launched an investigation and are working to “secure the lives of the hostages and release them as soon as possible”, according to a ministry statement on Saturday.
Callum Paton, a journalist working in Tripoli, said LROR is widely believed to have been behind the kidnapping of Zeidan in October last year. He explained that the group was co-opted by the Libyan military having played a role in the 2011 overthrowing of former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, adding that these groups often act unilaterally.
The Egyptian ministry’s Friday statement said that it is reviewing the number of staff at the embassy in Tripoli and the consulate in Benghazi, adding “it is a precautionary and temporary security consideration without affecting the formal relations with Libya… and the important historical relations of the two countries.”