Gunmen attack HQ of Libyan foreign ministry in Tripoli
Libyan security officials say suicide bomber targets Foreign Ministry in Tripoli, killing 3
Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on Libya’s Foreign Ministry in Tripoli, the group said on its news agency Amaq. The group said three of its members carried out the attack that killed at least two people on Tuesday.
Daesh said in an online statement that “a security detachment of three ‘Inghimasis’ [suicide attack shock elements] equipped with explosive belts and machine guns” was able to break into “the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Libyan government in central Tripoli.”
The Ministry of Health in the Libyan Government of National Accord reported on Tuesday the death of three people and the injury of 21 people in the “suicide” attack, as well as the death of the three perpetrators.
Tariq Al-Dawaas, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry’s Special Forces, had earlier accused Daesh of carrying out the attack. He said that, at first, a “car bomb” exploded near the building, prompting the security forces to go to the location.
Then, a suicide bomber entered the building and blew himself up on the second floor. A second attacker was killed on the premises o after a bag he was carrying exploded, while security forces killed the third attacker, who was not armed and “had only a bulletproof vest”.
Security and military forces in Tripoli raised the security alert level and tightened security at the government and military headquarters near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Interior Minister Fathi Bash Agha admitted in a press conference on Tuesday that “the ongoing security chaos” in Libya has created a “favourable environment” for Daesh.
Bash Agha revealed that his ministry lacks the proper equipment to restore security in the country. He said he took office last October when there were “zero mechanisms and zero weapons” in the ministry’s stores.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Taher Siala called on the United Nations to lift an arms embargo that has been imposed on his country since 2011, saying:
“Security cannot be achieved in Libya without the Security Council and the sanctions committee’s granting of an exception for some particular types of weapons to counter the threat of terrorism.” Siala added: “Human beings alone are not enough to confront this danger.”
For its part, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya condemned in a statement the “cowardly terrorist act.”
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, pledged “to work with the Libyan people to prevent militants from turning Libya into a haven and a scene for their inconsiderate criminality.”
Since the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and his death in 2011, Libya has been drowning in security and political chaos.
Two governments has been competing for legitimacy and power since then: one of which is the Government of National Accord headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj in the west of Libya and it enjoys the support of the international community, and the second is a parallel government headed by Abdullah Al-Thani in the east of the country and is supported by the retired Major-General Khalifa Haftar.