[Los Angeles Times]

CAIRO — Libya slipped deeper into turmoil Thursday when gunmen staged a brief but brazen abduction of the country’s prime minister, storming into a luxury hotel in the capital, Tripoli, and seizing him. He was freed hours later, Libya’s state-run news agency reported.

The circumstances of Prime Minister Ali Zidan’s release were not immediately clear.

Earlier, the state Libyan Arab News Agency had said he was detained by a group called the Brigade for the Fight Against Crime, which is made up of former insurgents and has links to the fragile government.

The Reuters news agency said earlier that the group described its actions as an “arrest” in retaliation for alleged government collusion in a weekend U.S. raid resulting in the capture of a senior Al Qaeda militant. Images that appeared on Al Arabiya television purported to show the prime minister being led by several armed men from the hotel, which he used as his residence.

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