Libyan FM flees for her life after meeting with Israeli counterpart

Libya’s Foreign Minister is forced to flee the country after announcement from Jerusalem that she met a top Israeli diplomat to discuss normalization between Jerusalem and Tripoli.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Foreign Minister of Libya has reportedly fled to Turkey, after an announcement by her Israeli counterpart that the two had met sparked widespread rioting in the North African country.

In a bombastic statement on Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced that he had discussed a potential normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Tripoli in a meeting with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush last week.

The statement thanked an Italian senior diplomat for brokering the meeting, and indicated that the pair had met in person in Rome.

However, it appears that Cohen’s office failed to clear the announcement with Mangoush or the Libyan government before the triumphant media release.

Videos circulating on social media showed Libyans rioting in the streets, burning Israeli flags, waving Palestinian flags, burning tires and blocking intersections, in response to the news.

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Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh quickly announced that Mangoush had been suspended from her role as Foreign Minister, claiming that she had met with the Israeli official “informally” without the knowledge of his administration.

“What happened in Rome was a chance and unofficial encounter, during a meeting with his Italian counterpart, which did not involve any discussion, agreement or consultation,” the ministry said in a statement, stressing its support for the Palestinians.

The statement also emphasized Libya’s “complete and absolute rejection of normalization with the Zionist entity.”

According to Hebrew-language media reports, Mangoush has gone into hiding due to numerous threats to her life, fleeing the country for Turkey.

Additionally, she is now wanted for questioning by Libya’s internal security agency.

Several Israeli politicians from the Opposition, including National Unity chair Benny Gantz and Labor leader Merav Michaeli, called for Cohen to resign after the diplomatic misstep.