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Italy suspends activity at Benghazi consulate, withdraws staff

Security officers stand near the Italian consul's car after it was shot by unknown assailants in Benghazi January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Esam Al-
Security officers stand near the Italian consul's car after it was shot by unknown assailants in Benghazi January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Esam Al-

ROME (Reuters) - Italy suspended activity at its consulate in Benghazi and withdrew staff for security reasons on Tuesday after a gun attack on its consul at the weekend which underlined the precarious security situation in the North African state.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Guido De Sanctis's heavily armored car in Benghazi, Libya's second city, on Saturday. The diplomat was unhurt but the attack was a reminder of the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission there that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.

The foreign ministry said "attempts to destabilize" Libya showed that the international community needed to intensify its support for the government in Tripoli.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella)

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