Libya: Blasts heard at National Oil Corporation’s Tripoli offices

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Libya: Blasts heard at National Oil Corporation’s Tripoli offices

Several armed men attacked the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in the Libyan capital and several blasts could be heard, witnesses said.

Gunfire could be heard as a security force allied to the Tripoli-based government arrived at the landmark building located in central Tripoli.

“Three or five gunmen were shooting inside the building,” an NOC staff told Reuters news agency after he said he had jumped out of a window to flee. “Several people were shot.”

No claim of attack was immediately made as firefighters and ambulances arrived to treat wounded streaming out of the building.

The NOC building is covered mainly in glass, and a witness said several people had been wounded by shattered windows.

Security force were smashing windows so staff could escape, witnesses said.

Smoke could be seen rising as security forces took up positions around the offices in central Tripoli and surrounding roads were cordoned off.

A member of staff from a hotel next to the NOC offices said he had heard about five blasts.

Posts on social media showed photos of wounded people being carried from the scene, and security forces blocking the roads around the headquarters. 

Tripoli was shaken by clashes between rival armed groups at the beginning of this month but the capital has also seen occasional attacks.

Tripoli was shaken by clashes between rival armed groups at the beginning of this month but the capital has also seen occasional attacks.

In May, fighters affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed a deadly attack on the national election commission offices in Tripoli.

The group had also claimed an attack in 2015 on the Corinthia hotel, a landmark location in Tripoli.

Ambulances and security vehicles near the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in the Libyan capital [Hani Amara/Reuters]

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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