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IS claims deadly attack on Libya foreign ministry

IS claimed the attack in a statement distributed on social media [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 December, 2018

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Suicide attackers stormed the Libyan foreign ministry in the capital Tripoli, killing at least three people including a senior civil servant.

Suicide attackers stormed the Libyan foreign ministry in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday, killing at least three people including a senior civil servant in an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

Twenty-one other people were wounded in the attack, authorities said.

A car bomb exploded near the ministry, prompting security forces to rush to the scene, said special forces spokesman Tarak al-Dawass.

A suicide bomber then blew himself up on the second floor of the building while a second attacker died when a suitcase he was carrying exploded, he said.

A third assailant, who was unarmed and wearing a bulletproof vest, was killed by security forces outside, Dawass added.

At least three people were killed and 21 wounded, according to the health ministry.

Foreign Minister Tahar Siala said one of the dead was senior diplomat Ibrahim al-Shaibi who headed a department in his ministry.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the building as ambulances, paramedics and security forces gathered outside.

IS claimed the attack in a statement distributed on social media, saying that it was carried out by three "soldiers of the caliphate" who were armed with suicide belts and automatic weapons.

Interior Minister Fathi Bash Agha admitted during a news conference that "security chaos" reigned in Libya and was "out of our control".

He said this was creating a "fertile ground" for IS to operate in the North African country.

Torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity, Libya has become a haven for jihadists since the ouster and killing of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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