Tripoli: At least five foreigners, three guards and a hostage were killed on Tuesday when five unidentified gunmen donning bulletproof vests barged into Libya's luxurious Corinthia Hotel and opened fire, reports stated.
According to reports, gunmen detonated a bomb at Corinthia Hotel`s parking lot around 10:00 am and then opened fire in the hotel building. Although nationalities of the people killed in the attack is not known yet, the spokesperson Issam al-Naass of the security services said that two foreigners were women.
Furthermore, Naass also revealed that the hostage was killed when three gunmen blew themselves up after being surrounded on the 24th floor of the hotel.
During the attack, the head of Libya's self-declared government, Omar Al Hassi, was inside the hotel. However, due to the speediness of the security officials he was evacuated safely.
Mahmoud Hamza, commander of the so-called Special Deterrent Force, told private satellite television station al-Nabaa that the situation was "under control" Tuesday afternoon, though he couldn't confirm the whereabouts of the gunmen then, claimed Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the SITE Intel Group informed that the attack has been claimed by a group calling itself Islamic State's “Tripoli Province”, in what appears to be in retaliation to the death of Libyan al Qaeda militant Abu Anas al Libi.
The IS's "Tripoli Province" in Libya claimed an attack on the Corinthia Hotel as the "Battle of Abu Anas al-Libi". pic.twitter.com/eu7Gjhyc24
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) January 27, 2015
The five masked attackers fired randomly at the hotel staff in the lobby. On realising about the attack, the hotel staff and guests tried to flee out from the back door into the parking lot, PTI reported.
When they got there, he said a car bomb exploded in the parking lot, only a hundred metres away.
Abu Anas al-Liby, who was indicted in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was captured from Tripoli in October last year when US Navy SEALs ended a 15-year old manhunt for him.
The Libyan Qaeda militant, al-Liby, who was born Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai had a bounty worth $5 million on his head.
Liby was also on FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Al Libi, who died earlier this month in a US hospital, was reportedly suffering from an advanced Hepatitis C and had developed liver cancer since his capture, his son Mouin had told the CNN.
Though the US Department of Justice said in court that al Libi died due to complications arising out of his previous health conditions that suddenly worsened, his family held the US government responsible for his death.
(With Agency inputs)