5 dead in attack on foreign ministry building in Tripoli

Saul Bowman
December 27, 2018

The Islamic State issued a statement through its Amaq news agency taking responsibility for the attack and claiming the killers were "soldiers of the caliphate".

"Weakness and a security breakdown" allowed Tuesday's attackers to storm the foreign ministry and carry out their attack, Bach Agha said.

Last month, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on militia forces in southeastern Libya in which at least nine people were killed.

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

Two assailants detonated their suicide vests inside the ministry and the third was killed by ministry guards, Reuters reported.

Foreign Minister Mohemed al-Taher was not inside the building during the attack as he was accompanying Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj during a visit to the western city of Zawiya, according to a source from the ministry.

"We will work with the Libyan people to prevent terrorist groups from turning Libya into a haven or an arena for their crimes", he said.

The blast set off a fire inside the building, and black smoke could be seen billowing from its windows, footage from state television showed.

Libya descended into a period of chaos after uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt led to similar protests against Qaddafi in 2011.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya condemned the attack.

Peace talks in 2017 lead to a ceasefire and an agreement on elections.

Four months earlier, it claimed an attack on the electoral commission's headquarters which left 14 dead.

ISIS was forced to withdraw from towns and cities it held in Libya but proved to have a small but potent force in the country.

"It is needed to guarantee security and combat terrorism", Siala told the news conference.

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