Benghazi, Libya: The head of general intelligence in eastern Libya was gunned down in the flashpoint city of Benghazi Thursday, an intelligence source said.

Colonel Ebrahim Al Senussi Akila was shot dead near the Medical Centre in the city centre, the source told AFP.

“He was in his car when unknown assailants opened fire. He was hit twice, once in the neck.”

Benghazi was the cradle of the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi and has since been plagued by violence that has killed dozens of members of the security forces, judges and foreigners.

Among them was the head of military intelligence in Benghazi, who was assassinated in December.

The government has been struggling to consolidate control in the vast and mostly desert country, which is effectively ruled by a patchwork of local militias and awash with heavy weapons looted from Gaddafi’s arsenals.

In March, the authorities acknowledged for the first time the existence of “terrorist groups” in Libya, particularly in Benghazi and Derna, another eastern city.

Last Friday, jihadist gunmen from the Ansar Al Sharia brigade stormed police headquarters in Benghazi, sparking a firefight that killed at least nine soldiers and police.