ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 139

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Libya’s chief prosecutor to probe meeting between FM Cohen and counterpart

A composite image of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (left), and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush (right). (Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP; Adem Altan/AFP)
A composite image of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (left), and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush (right). (Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP; Adem Altan/AFP)

CAIRO — Libya’s chief prosecutor says he would establish a fact-finding mission to investigate a meeting last month between the foreign minister of one of the country’s rival governments and Israel’s chief diplomat.

The August 22 meeting caused an uproar across the North African nation. Najla Mangoush, the foreign minister of the Tripoli-based government, and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met in Rome for the first-ever between top diplomats of Libya and Israel.

Libya criminalizes establishing ties with Israel under a 1957 law. The oil-rich country has long been hostile toward Israel and supportive of the Palestinians.

In a terse statement, General Prosecutor Al-Sediq al-Sour says the fact-finding mission would probe violations of Libya’s rules of boycotting Israel and “investigate the extent of damage to Libya’s interests” because of the Mangoush-Cohen meeting.

Libya slid into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. For years, the country has split between the Western-backed government in Tripoli and a rival administration in the country’s east. Each side has been backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

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