An iconic Italian-era statue of a naked woman and a gazelle mysteriously disappeared between the night of November 2 and the next morning from its pedestal on the seafront of the Libyan capital.
The culture minister of the transitional government confirmed on Wednesday the disappearance, calling it ''an act of sabotage that aims to erase Libyan history and destroy its antiquities''. Eyewitnesses say that the statue, known as 'The Gazelle', was taken away at dawn on November 3 by an unknown group, saying that it violated religious principles. The statue had been threatened by Islamic extremists as far back as 2012, when it was put under police surveillance. Since last summer Tripoli has been prey to Libya Dawn Islamist militias, which have set up a different government and parliament from the ones recognized by the international community. The latter have been forced to relocate to the eastern city of Tobruk due to the fighting.
In August during clashes for control of the airport and capital, the statue was severely damaged by a rocket that hit its stomach, leaving a gaping hole. (ANSAmed).