Two people were killed and twenty one were wounded in Libya’s foreign ministry in the capital Tripoli after an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, ISIS. Amaq news agency reported that ISIS sent three suicide fighters to infiltrate the area.
Libyan authorities stated that gunmen opened fire on the ministry. The first suicide bomber detonated himself on the second floor while the other one died when the suitcase he was carrying exploded. The third bomber who was unarmed was killed by the security forces.
In a news conference, Foreign Minister Tahar Siala said that one of the fatalities was senior diplomat Ibrahim al-Shaibi.
Siala said that the UN should lift an arms embargo it has imposed on Libya since the 2011 uprising.
“Stability cannot be restored… without a partial lifting of the embargo. It is needed to guarantee security and combat terrorism,” Siala told reporters.
Interior Minister Fathi Bach Agha admitted during a news conference that “security chaos” reigned in Libya and was “out of our control” thereby creating a “fertile ground” for IS to operate.
Since the ouster and killing of Mohammar Kadhafi in 2011, jihadists have taken advantage of the turmoil in an attempt to strengthen their foothold on Libya.
Bach Aga said that the administration does not have the means nor the equipment to restore law and order in Libya. He added that when he took office in October, he found “zero weapons and zero vehicles” in the ministry’s warehouses.
The Foreign Ministry denounced the attack. “The Libyan people are fighting a war against terrorism on behalf of the world,” it said in a statement. Foreign envoys shared the same sentiment.
The head of the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ghassan Salame, denounced the “cowardly terrorist attack.” He vowed to work Libyan people “to prevent terrorist groups from turning Libya into a haven… for their crimes”.
Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi denounced the attack and reiterated Rome’s “solidarity with the Libyan people and their just aspiration to real security”.