Tripoli (AFP) – Militants from the Islamic State group in Libya claimed an assault on a Tripoli hotel popular with foreigners on Tuesday, setting off a car bomb that left at least one dead.
Security forces had surrounded the Corinthia Hotel in central Tripoli and gunfire was heard from nearby, an AFP photographer said.
According to security sources at the scene, four armed men had detonated a car bomb in front of the hotel, killing a guard, before rushing inside.
Several others were wounded in the attack, the sources said, without providing further details. Several ambulances were gathered near the hotel.
In a brief statement on Twitter, the Tripoli branch of the Islamic State extremist group claimed to have stormed the hotel, the SITE Intelligence monitoring group said.
It was not clear whether any guests remained inside the hotel, which is a major hub for diplomatic and government activity in Tripoli.
“It’s an evolving situation, what we’re hearing is what is being reported on the news,” a spokesman for the Malta-based Corinthia Hotel chain, Matthew Dixon, told AFP by telephone.
“Our thoughts are with our staff and guests,” he said. “We have no further information.”
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini expressed concern, calling the attack “another reprehensible act of terrorism which deals a blow to efforts to bring peace and stability to Libya.”
She expressed “solidarity with the victims and their families” but provided no details of casualties.
“Such attacks should not be allowed to undermine the political process,” Mogherini said in a statement.