Italian consul in Libya escapes gun attack: Report

BENGHAZI (AFP) - Italy's consul to Benghazi in eastern Libya escaped unscathed after an attack on his bullet-proof car in the city on Saturday, Italian news agency Ansa and local security sources said.

The car in which the consul, Guido De Sanctis, was travelling was shot at when it stopped at a crossroads, but no one was injured, Ansa said.

The consul was returning home after work and the car was hit by several bullets, which were reportedly fired from another car and aimed directly at where the consul and his driver were sitting.

In Benghazi, a security official said "unknown assailants opened fire at the vehicle of the Italian consul as he reached his residence. No one was hurt." The source added that "members of the supreme security committee deployed to the scene and escorted the consul to a safe location." He said no arrests had yet been made.

The incident comes four months after US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the city in an attack on the US mission there.

Italy is Libya's former colonial ruler and enjoyed close ties with slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi, though it then joined Nato-led efforts to unseat him.

Italy is also the biggest foreign investor in Libya's energy industry and has been trying to build up relations with the new government in recent months.

Mr De Sanctis, 51, has been in Benghazi since the start of the uprising against Kadhafi in February 2011.

He is due to leave for a new posting in Qatar next week.