Italy has suspended activity at its consulate in Benghazi in Libya and withdrawn staff for security reasons after a gun attack on its consul at the weekend.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Guido De Sanctis' heavily armoured car in Libya's second city on Saturday.

The diplomat was unhurt, but the attack was a reminder of the 11 September attack on the US mission there that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.

The foreign ministry said "attempts to destabilise" Libya showed that the international community needed to intensify its support for the government in Tripoli.