Libya suicide attack: Militants kill 12 in Tripoli election headquarters bombing


A group of militants stormed the headquarters of Libya’s electoral commission on Wednesday, killing at least 12, including three employees of the commission and four members of local security forces. Seven others were wounded.

On its AMAQ news service, “Islamic State” claimed responsibility for the attack on the electoral body, which was gearing to hold elections in the turmoil-ridden country later this year.

The commission recently registered nearly 1 million new voters across the country.

Read more: Can the EU and partners stabilize Libya?

Security forces engaged in a gun battle with the attackers as they tried to regain control of the building, said electoral commission spokesman Khaled Omar, who said he saw a pair of suicide bombers as he fled the offices with other staff as the attack unfolded.

“A suicide bomber blew up himself inside the commission and the others set a part of the building on fire,” Omar said. 

Read more: Is Libya a failed state?

‘Cowardly’ attack

The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said it was dealing with “the consequences of the cowardly suicide attack.”

The United Nations mission in Libya condemned the “terrorist attack.”

“Such terrorist attacks will not deter Libyans from moving forward in the process of consolidating national unity and building the state of law and institutions,” it said on Twitter.

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since the 2011 civil war that saw the ouster of longstanding ruler Moammar Gadhafi by rebel fighters backed by NATO airstrikes. The country is now split between rival governments, each backed by an array of militias.

An international quartet, made up of the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League and the United Nations, is trying to stabilize Libya.

Read more: El-Sonni: Stable Libya ‘five to 10 years’ away

Earlier this week, the quartet said it supports holding presidential and parliamentary elections this year and will provide observers and electoral assistance to ensure free and fair elections.

ap/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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