Security officials said Tuesday a suicide bomber targeted Libya’s Foreign Ministry in the capital, Tripoli, killing three people.
They said a second suicide bomber was shot dead by guards before he could detonate his explosive vest.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said at least seven other people were wounded in Tuesday’s attack.
The assault was carried out by several “terrorist attackers,” according to the Libyan unity government’s official TV channel, which cited foreign and interior ministry sources.
— Alnabaa TV Channel (@ALNABAA_EN) December 25, 2018
Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the building, witnesses said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State terror group.
— The Libya Times (@thelibyatimes) December 25, 2018
Torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity, Libya has become a haven for jihadists since the ouster and killing of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
Islamic State took advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the coastal city of Sirte in 2015.
Forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) regained control of the city in December 2016 after eight months of deadly fighting.
Since then, some jihadists have returned to the desert in an attempt to regroup and reorganize.
In September, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the headquarters of Libya’s National Oil Company in the heart of Tripoli which left two dead and 10 wounded.
Four months earlier, it claimed an attack on the electoral commission’s headquarters which left 14 dead.