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Iran Press TV

Libya's national oil company HQs comes under attack

Iran Press TV

Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:18AM

Unknown gunmen have attacked the headquarters of Libya's national oil company in the capital, Tripoli, reportedly taking a number of people hostage.

Blasts and gunfire could be heard as a security force allied to Libya's Tripoli-based government arrived at the building of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), located in the center of the capital, on Monday.

NOC chairman Mustafa Sanallah was safely evacuated, a witness told Reuters.

An NOC staffer, who said he had jumped out of a window to flee, told media that several armed men were shooting inside the building and several people had been shot.

Later reports indicated that two staff of Libyan state oil firm and two gunmen had been killed in the attack on the NOC headquarters.

"The death toll so far is two killed from NOC staff and two attackers," Reuters quoted Ahmad Ben Salim, spokesman for the Special Deterrence Force (Rada), which had surrounded the NOC building, as saying.

No claim of responsibility was immediately made, as fire engines and ambulances arrived at the scene.

Wounded individuals were reportedly being streamed out of the building.

Last week, the internationally-recognized government of Tripoli announced a state of emergency in the capital and on its outskirts.

Libya has been witnessing clashes between rival armed groups for years.

The country plunged into chaos in 2011, after long-time autocrat Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in a local uprising backed by a NATO military intervention.

Since then, the North African country has been divided between two rival governments – one located in the east and the other in the west of the country and each backed by an array of rival militias.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) is recognized by the United Nations (UN) as the official government of Libya. The other government, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, has the support of forces loyal to military strongman General Khalifa Haftar.

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