TRIPOLI, Libya (AP):
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan was abducted by gunmen who snatched him from his hotel and held him for several hours yesterday in apparent retaliation for a US special forces raid that captured an al-Qaida suspect in the capital last weekend.
The brazen abduction, which ended with Zidan's rescue, underscored the lawlessness gripping Libya two years after the ouster of autocrat Moammar Gadhafi. The weak central government is virtually hostage to multiple, independent-minded militias, many of them made up of Islamic militants that serve as security forces and hold sway across the country.
The gunmen who abducted Zidan were believed to be militiamen, and it appeared he was freed when members of another militia stormed the site where he was being held.
Yesterday afternoon, after authorities announced he had been freed, Zidan spoke at a Cabinet meeting aired live on Libyan TV. He thanked those who helped free him, but provided no details and avoided pointing fingers at those behind the abduction.