Libya's intel chief resigns over power struggle

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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya's intelligence chief resigned on Thursday amid an intensifying power struggle between the Islamist-dominated parliament and a rival, interim government.

Spy chief Salem al-Hassi submitted his resignation to parliament, according to lawmaker Mohammed al-Arisha, who did not elaborate.

Al-Wasat news portal said al-Hassi resigned because he was frustrated with parliament's insistence on appointing a new prime minister, a move that added to the country's crisis. Al-Hassi could not be reached to confirm the report.

The resignation came as Libya's Supreme Constitutional Court convened to decide on the legality of the election on Islamist-backed Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteg. The court said it would issue its ruling on July 9.

Maiteg was elected last month by the Islamist-led parliament in a contested vote, which prompted incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to refuse to hand over the post until the judiciary decides on the matter.

Maiteg's appointment adds to Libya's political and security woes at a time when renegade Gen. Khalifa Hifter is waging an offensive against Islamist militias. The general has also warned he would detain Islamist lawmakers, accusing them of financing the militias, which he blames for much of Libya's chaos.

Hifter, who managed to build up support among army units, tribes, and a large section of Libyans fed up with violence and lawlessness, survived an assassination attempt on Wednesday.

Libya has sunk into chaos over the past years following the downfall and the killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in the country's 2011 civil war.

With no strong army or police, militias quickly filled the security vacuum and successive governments relied on them to restore order. Meanwhile, they mushroomed in number and power and posed a challenge to democratic transition.

Over the past weeks, forces allying with Hifter bombed camps of Islamist militias, which responded by waging attacks on his forces.

On Thursday, a security official said at least 10 Grad rockets were fired on a Benghazi district, setting fire to several warehouses there. Rockets were also fired on the outskirts of the Islamists' stronghold of Darnah, eastern Libya.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said there were no reports on casualties.

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