At least three security guards were on Tuesday shot dead when gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Tripoli on Tuesday (January 27), Libyan officials said.
As gunfire could still be heard inside the hotel, there were confused reports about the unfolding events. Local television reported that the
prime minister of Tripoli’s rival government and three foreign nationals had been evacuated from the hotel that is often used by senior officials and overseas delegations.
A spokesman for Tripoli’s security forces said guests were being evacuated, but that hostages were probably being held on the 23rd floor.
The gunmen detonated a car bomb outside the Corinthia Hotel, killing the three guards. At least three attackers entered the hotel.
Libya is caught up in a conflict between two rival governments — an internationally recognised one based in eastern Libya and a rival
administration set up in Tripoli after an armed faction called Libya Dawn took over the capital.
Most foreign governments closed their embassies and pulled their staff out of Tripoli after fighting erupted last summer. But some business and trade delegations still visit the capital.
It was not immediately clear who carried out Tuesday’s attack, but the SITE monitoring service said a militant group claiming affiliation with
Islamic State had claimed responsibility.
Citing social media, SITE said the attack was revenge for the death of Abu Anas al-Liby, a suspected al Qaeda member accused of helping plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He died in hospital this month in New York ahead of his scheduled trial.SPONSORED