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U.N.: Libya attacks reminder of challenges

Sept. 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Attacks on a U.S. consulate in Libya, coupled with violence targeting Sufi shrines in the country, symbolize the tough challenges ahead, a U.N. diplomat said.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other diplomatic staff died after anti-American protesters attacked the consulate in Benghazi. Prior to the attacks, the United Nations had expressed concerns about an attack on Sufi religious sites in Libya.

Experts working for the United Nations said similar religious attacks were reported last October and continued for much of this year.

Jeffrey Feltman, a former Middle East envoy for the U.S. State Department serving as U.N. undersecretary-general, told members of the U.N. Security Council that events in Libya serve as a "sobering reminder" of the challenges ahead.

A new government emerged in Libya through a democratic vote this year for the first time in a generation. NATO forces intervened in Libya's civil war last year, which ended with the death of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in October.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said emotional scars among Libyans are "raw" nearly a year after Gadhafi died. The ICRC had pulled some of its staff from Benghazi and Misurata after workers came under attack.

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