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French consul in Libya's Benghazi survives gun attack

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Members of the Libyan Rapid intervention force unit patrol at a checkpoint in Benghazi on May 16, 2013 . France's honorary consul in Benghazi, Jean Dufriche, has escaped unharmed after gunmen fired on his car in the eastern Libyan city, a source close to him and a security official saidAFP/File

France's honorary consul in Benghazi, Jean Dufriche, has escaped unharmed after gunmen fired on his car in the eastern Libyan city, a source close to him and a security official said on Friday.

The unidentified attackers shot at Dufriche's car from another vehicle as he was returning home late Thursday with his wife, said Mohammed Hijazi, security services spokesman in Benghazi.

The couple were leaving a hospital at around 11:00 PM (2300 GMT), when the gunmen opened up.

"At least ten bullets hit the vehicle, but no one was wounded," Hijazi said.

"Dr Dufriche and his wife returned to the hospital where security forces took charge of them."

A source close to the honorary consul said Dufriche was at the wheel when gunmen pulled alongside and fired at him several times with a "handgun".

The source said there were at least seven bullet holes in Dufriche's car.

"Dufriche and his wife were not wounded and were able to leave Benghazi for Tunis on Friday," the same source added.

Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 uprising that toppled former dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has seen several attacks targeting the security forces and Western interests in recent months.

On September 11 last year, Islamist militants attacked the US consulate in the city, killing ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

A car bomb targeted France's embassy in the capital Tripoli on April 23 this year, devastating the building and wounding two French security personnel.