Libya's vice minister for industry, Hasan al Deroui, was murdered on the weekend in the eastern city of Sirte, a local security official told Efe on Sunday.

The minister, who was a member of the National Transition Council, the political organ of the rebellion that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was ambushed by his attackers near a market in the center of town.

Al Deroui was shot multiple times and died at the scene, the source added.

The gunmen, who were traveling in a vehicle, managed to flee and it is not known what group was responsible for the hit.

So far, Libyan authorities have made no public statement about the assassination, which is the first of a government minister since the fall of the dictatorship.

The killing highlights the unstable situation that prevails in the large and sparsely-populated North African nation after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

Murders have increased in particular in the city of Benghazi, the bastion of the rebels who toppled Gaddafi, with more than 200 killings, most of them of members of different security organizations, according to unofficial figures.

Authorities attribute the attacks to supporters of the old Libyan regime.

Meanwhile, tribal clashes that broke out late last week in the southwestern city of Sebha and are still continuing have resulted in 31 deaths and 65 people being wounded, according to a new casualty count released Sunday by the Libyan Health Ministry. EFE