Gunmen have stormed a luxury hotel in Libya’s capital city of Tripoli, killing at least eight people – five foreigners and three security guards.
Gunmen have stormed a luxury hotel in Libya’s capital, killing at least five foreigners and three guards, authorities said.
The attack, which included a car bombing, struck the Corinthia hotel, which sits along the Mediterranean sea. In a brief statement on Twitter, the Tripoli branch of Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, the Site Intelligence monitoring group said.
Mahmoud Hamza, commander of the Special Deterrent Force, told private satellite television station al-Nabaa that the situation was under control, though he could not confirm the whereabouts of the gunmen. He also said five foreigners were killed, without elaborating.
Another security official said earlier that gunmen killed three guards and took hostages, but had no further information on who the captives were. He also said that two commercial landmark towers behind the hotel were evacuated out of security concerns.
A hotel worker said masked attackers entered the hotel and fired randomly at staff in the lobby.
He described how the attackers fired in his direction when he opened his door to look out, after which he joined the rest of the staff and foreign guests fleeing out of the hotel’s back doors into the parking lot.
When they got to the parking area, he said a car bomb exploded about 100 metres away. He said the explosion came after a protection force entered the lobby and opened fire on the attackers. Two guards were immediately killed. The hotel staff member spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution.
He said the hotel had Italian, British and Turkish guests but was largely empty at the time of the attack.