Libya’s Prime Minister-designate, Abdullah al-Thini, resigned on Sunday, citing what he said was an attack on him and his family overnight.

In a letter addressed to the National Congress, Libya’s interim parliament, Mr. al-Thini, who was charged with forming a government on last Tuesday, said he and his family had been exposed to “a treacherous attack and shooting which terrified peaceful people in a residential area”. Mr. al-Thini said he and his government would continue to act as a caretaker administration pending the appointment of a new head of the interim government.

“Since I do not wish to see one drop of blood spilled because of me, I hereby decline my designation as Prime Minister of the interim government,” Mr. al-Thini wrote in the letter, published on his office’s website.

The Al-Wasat news site quoted a “ministerial source” as saying that several ministers had also been threatened by unknown persons who demanded that they resign.

Mr. al-Thini, the defence minister, was appointed caretaker Prime Minister in mid-March after Congress voted out premier Ali Zeidan.

Mr. Zeidan, who had been in conflict with Congress’s dominant Islamist faction for months, was fatally weakened by his failure to prevent a tanker loaded with crude oil setting sail from a rebel-controlled oil terminal in eastern Libya.

Last week Congress reportedly asked Mr. al-Thini to form a new government after its members were unable to agree on either of two candidates for the position.

Members of Congress have themselves been repeatedly threatened by members of the rebel militias who overthrew long-term leader Muammar Qadhafi in 2011 and still outgun the nascent national army and police.

Some of the militias are also loosely aligned to rival factions in Congress, and one group briefly abducted Mr. Zeidan last October.

Congress and the government are both interim bodies pending legislative elections expected to be held in July and the drafting of a new constitution by a recently elected commission.


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