Cairo: Daesh has claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in the head offices of Libya’s electoral commission in Tripoli, the group’s Amaq news agency said Wednesday. At least 14 people were killed when attackers stormed the building and set fire to it. The group did not provide any evidence for its claim.
The attack is likely a symbolic strike as the fractured country edges towards potentially stabilising election.
Gunfire erupted as the attackers targeted security forces guarding the building, said Khaled Al Mannai, deputy head of public relations at the commission in Tripoli. While one kept watch on the entrance, another “roamed through offices showering people with bullets. When police reinforcements reached the area, the attackers blew themselves up inside,” he said.
At least seven other people were wounded, the Health Ministry said.
Turmoil gripped Libya following the 2011 Nato-backed uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Since 2014, the Opec member has been ruled by two feuding administrations and dozens of regional militias. The ensuing chaos has provided fertile ground for the rise of militants, including those linked to Daesh.
The United Nations has been struggling to help the rival governments lay the groundwork for a new constitution and elections. It’s pushing for votes on both to be held by the end of the year, and Libyan officials have been registering voters.
Khalifa Haftar, whose self-styled Libya National Army rose to prominence by targeting Islamists, has gained control over the oil-rich eastern part of the country.
In a statement, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack in Tripoli and called on the the international community to cut off sources of terrorist funding and prevent the establishment of safe havens.