Seven Iranian Red Crescent workers who were abducted by an armed group in the Libyan city of Benghazi are being held and questioned by a local militia, a security official told AFP Wednesday.
"Members of the brigade holding the Iranians are questioning them to determine whether their activities and intentions aimed to spread the doctrine of Shiite Islam," the security official said on condition of anonymity.
The Shiite creed, the second largest denomination of Islam, is viewed by some as a heretical cult in Libya, where the majority of the population is Sunni Muslim.
"They will be released after the investigation is concluded," said the official, adding that "the team is being treated well and has not been subjected to any abuse."
The official did not name the brigade holding the Iranian team but noted that its members are reputed to be "Islamist extremists."
Wanas Sharif, an interior ministry official, confirmed that "the Iranian Red Crescent team kidnapped in Benghazi is safe."
On Tuesday, the Libyan Red Crescent reported that a seven-member delegation from the Iranian Red Crescent visiting the eastern city of Benghazi was abducted by gunmen in the middle of the night.© ANP/AFP