Islamic State claims responsibility for attack on foreign ministry in Libya

  • Two people were killed and 18 others were wounded when three attackers targeted the government building
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 December, 2018, 2:10pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 December, 2018, 9:06pm

Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for an attack on the Libyan foreign ministry in Tripoli, according to the SITE intelligence Group, which tracks online activity of jihadist organisations.

Two people were killed and 18 others wounded Tuesday when three attackers targeted the ministry, according to the United Nations-backed government’s interior ministry.

The two victims were a ministry employee and another person, Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha told a joint news conference with Libya’s foreign minister in Tripoli.

He said the attackers had African complexions, adding that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

“There is a security failure that needs committees to be formed to study it and draw up security plans to overcome it,” he said.

The ministry will move to a new headquarters, he added.

Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry put the death toll at three people and said 21 people were injured.

The country’s official news agency quoted sources as saying that two of the militants blew themselves up and one was killed in an exchange of fire with the ministry’s guards.

Plumes of heavy smoke were seen rising from the ministry building.

The Foreign Ministry denounced the attack. “The Libyan people are fighting a war against terrorism on behalf of the world,” it said in a statement.

It added that everyone who had been trapped in the building during the attack has been evacuated.

Libya has been in turmoil since the Nato-backed ouster of its long-time autocrat, Moammar Gadhafi, in 2011.

The country has at least two rival administrations: one based in the capital Tripoli, recognised by the United Nations, and another in the eastern city of Tobruk. There are also dozens of clashing militia groups vying for power and state wealth.