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Libyan MP says she needed handbag grenade for 'self-defense'

Libyan MP Souad Soltan was caught with a grenade in her pocket as she entered Tripoli's city hall on Nov. 21.
Live hand grenade wetzlar germany supermarket 30 01 2012Enlarge
These are not toys, but live hand grenades seized by police in Colombia on October 28, 2011. (LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

A Libyan parliament member was caught with a decidedly unusual item inside her handbag as she attempted to enter Tripoli's city hall on November 21: a hand grenade. 

MP Souad Soltan's curious self-defense strategy was discovered as she walked through a metal detector en route to a meeting, according to the Libya Herald

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Soltan, a member of the General National Congress, freely admitted she was carrying the explosive weapon, explaining that she needed it for protection since threats have been made against her and her family in the past, wrote the Herald. 

Soltan was, however, displeased that the security officer who had originally confiscated the weapon did not return it to her when she left — although Agence France-Presse notes that she was not arrested, as some initially reported. (The Libya Herald writes that she was indeed given back the grenade).

Though a grenade may seem excessive, Libya has suffered from a glut of weapons and violence in the aftermath of the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, prompting many politicians to fear for their safety. 

Just last month, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was captured by a Tripoli militia and held for several hours, before being released.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/libyan-mp-says-she-needed-handbag-grenade-self-defense