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Gunmen Swipe $54M From Libya Central Bank Van

'A catastrophe for the whole of Libya'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2013 12:43 PM CDT
Gunmen Swipe $54M From Libya Central Bank Van
In this photo taken Wednesday, June 1, 2011, a Central Bank worker counts Libyan money in his office.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

(Newser) – Ten gunmen stole $54 million from a bank van as it entered the city of Sirte in Libya after departing the airport, the BBC reports. The cash had come from Libya's central bank in Tripoli. The van had a single security vehicle as protection, and guards "were unable to resist the 10 attackers," LANA state news said. Local officials had sought better security for the money, a Sirte council member tells Reuters.

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The money included $42 million in Libyan dinars, along with $12 million worth of euros and US dollars, Al Jazeera reports, based on state news. "The robbing is a catastrophe not just for Sirte but the whole of Libya," the council member says. Police are pursuing the gunmen after their vehicles were identified, AFP reports per LANA. Crime has been rampant in the country since the end of Moammar Gadhafi's reign; July saw two bank heists in Sirte totaling $400,000, an official tells AFP. (Read more Libya stories.)

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