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French honorary consul in Benghazi survives gun attack

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - France's honorary consul in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi survived a gun attack on his car unharmed, officials said on Friday, in the latest assault on foreigners in the cradle of the North African country's 2011 revolt.

The attack happened late on Thursday when Jean Dufriche was on his way back to his residence with his wife.

"The consul was driving home when a car drove up and started shooting at their car," said Mohammed al-Hijazy, spokesman of the security operations room in Benghazi.

"They were close to the Benghazi Medical Centre when the incident happened. They went there and stayed there until we sent a protection force. They have since left for Tunisia."

A source familiar with the matter said the gunmen had fired several rounds and it was "a miracle" Dufriche had survived.

In April, a car bomb devastated France's embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli, wounding two French guards.

Security for Westerners has long been an acute concern in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city. Last September, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed during an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

U.S. officials say militants with ties to al Qaeda affiliates were most likely involved in that attack.

Benghazi, like much of Libya, is awash with weapons. The city has also seen attacks on Italian, British, Red Cross and United Nations interests since the end of the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

(Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Gareth Jones)

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