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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libya’s Ruling Council Passes Reins to New Assembly

RIA Novosti

03:39 09/08/2012 MOSCOW, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) has handed over power in the country to a newly elected congress in a symbolic ceremony marking the first peaceful transition of power in Libya in more than 40 years, international media reported on Thursday.

National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil handed over the reins to the oldest member of the 200-seat General National Congress in a ceremony held in Tripoli late on Wednesday.

The congress was elected in July, some nine months after the overthrow of Libya’s long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.

The assembly is expected to begin its work in a week. It will be tasked with drafting the country's new constitution and choosing a new interim government to take over from the NTC.

The July vote was the first free election in Libya in decades. Gaddafi, who came to power in 1969 as a result of a military coup, has ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years until a popular uprising broke out in February 2011, leading to his ouster and death on October 20, 2011.

Restoring security in the country where militants continue to operate without government oversight will be a major challenge for the North African state’s new authorities.

On Sunday, unknown assailants attacked a compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the coastal city of Misrata with grenades and rockets. No one was reported hurt in the attack, but the building suffered extensive damage. The attack forced the organization to postpone its work in Misrata and in the eastern city of Benghazi.

On Saturday, a car bomb exploded near a military police station in central Tripoli, slightly damaging nearby shops and injuring one person.

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