Militants attack Libya's foreign ministry in Tripoli

Geraldine Edwards
December 27, 2018

Libyan Foreign Minister Tahar Siala identified one of the victims killed in the attack as senior diplomat Ibrahim al-Shaibi, who headed up the Islamic Affairs Department at the ministry.

Three attackers opened fire on the building before two of them managed to get inside and blow themselves up.

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

Smoke rises shortly after an attack on the foreign ministry building, in Tripoli, Libya, on December 25.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' statement stressed that such an attack is a blatant challenge to the resolutions of global legitimacy and undermines the efforts of the United Nations in this regard, calling on the worldwide community to shoulder its responsibilities to condemn such acts of terrorism and stop those behind them.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the attack, stressing the need to "prevent terrorist groups from turning Libya into a haven or an arena for their crimes".

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

Two competing administrations, rival militias, tribes and jihadists have been competing for control of territory and the country's vast oil wealth.

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Islamic State had been forced to withdraw from the towns and cities it held in Libya to regroup in the south. No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Officials have been largely powerless to halt the violence as rival governments vie for power in a political tug-of-war that has stunted attempts to stabilize and rebuild the nation that sits atop Africa's largest proven reserves of crude.

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

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