Libyan forces surround Tripoli hotel;12 hostages taken-UPDATE

In a video posted on some websites, a group that associates itself with the ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, which, it said, had been carried out by a suicide bomber

Libyan forces surround Tripoli hotel;12 hostages taken-UPDATE

World Bulletin / News Desk

 A car bomb exploded outside the largest hotel in capital Tripoli on Tuesday, an attack that was claimed by a group linked to ISIL.

The bomb went off only meters away from the Corinthia Hotel – a preferred venue for high-profile meetings and conferences – causing limited damage to the hotel building, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.

Police vehicles and fire engines rushed to the scene as security forces cordoned off the area and shooed away curious onlookers, he added.

A hotel source said no injuries were reported. Militants have taken around a dozen foreign nationals hostage in a prominent Tripoli hotel after storming it earlier in the day, a hotel source said Tuesday.

"Five militants, including a black man speaking an African language, stormed the Corinthia Hotel amid heavy gunfire," the source told The Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

"They ascended to the 21st floor, which houses foreign diplomats and representatives from foreign companies," the source said, adding that the attackers had "taken 12 foreigners hostage."

At least two people were killed and several others injured by the bombing, a medical source said.

Security official Essam al-Naas told AA that police personnel were besieging the militants inside the hotel, where they were "trying to arrest them."

Libya has remained in a state of political turmoil since the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Over the past year, the conflict has evolved into a violent power struggle between two rival seats of government.

The two assemblies back two rival governments respectively headquartered in Tobruk and Tripoli. 

In a video posted on Islamic websites, a group that associates itself with the ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, which, it said, had been carried out by a suicide bomber.

Libya has remained in a state of political turmoil since the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Over the past year, the conflict has evolved into a violent power struggle between two rival seats of government.

While the House of Representatives is supported by much of the Libyan army and troops loyal to former army commander Khalifa Haftar, the General National Congress is backed by Islamist militias that helped topple Gaddafi in 2011.

Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2015, 15:02
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