Masked men armed with automatic rifles and explosives stormed Libya’s National Oil Corporation in Tripoli Monday and killed at least two people, authorities said.
Police said the attackers killed two oil company employees, injured others and took hostages. Special forces went in and rescued the hostages after a three-hour siege.. The six attackers were also killed.
Supporters of Libya’s government published a graphic photo of a leg that it said belonged to a suicide bomber.
“The building was heavily damaged due to the fire. Smoke is everywhere,” Mustafa Sanallah, the head of the National Oil Corporation, said on Libyan television. “The gunmen attacked the lower floors with random shooting and explosions. It’s a very violent attack.”
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Security forces smashed windows on the upper floors so people could escape the building.
No group immediately claimed responsibility.
The Special Deterrence Force blamed the attack on Islamic State militants.
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Ghassan Salame, special representative and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, warned last week the Islamic State could stage a comeback in Libya, suggesting the country could become a “a shelter for terrorist groups of all persuasions.”
Last week, Libya announced a truce between various armed groups in Tripoli, the capital.
The National Oil Corporation was poised to earn record revenues in 2018 and accounts for 70 percent of the country’s oil production. The company produced 1.3 million barrels in February.