Islamic State claims shooting raid on Libya oil firm-group’s news agency

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on the headquarters of Libyan state oil firm NOC in Tripoli, the jihadist group’s news agency said on Tuesday.

The attack on Monday killed two NOC staff and wounded 10, said officials, who had described the three shooters who were also killed as “Africans”.

The attack targeted the “economic interests of oppressing governments funding crusaders,” a statement carried on the militants’ Amaq news agency said.

It was the first attack of its kind against the leadership of Libya’s state oil industry.

Firefighters and security personnel are seen at the headquarters of Libyan state oil firm National Oil Corporation (NOC) after three masked persons attacked it in Tripoli, Libya September 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
Broken windows are seen at the headquarters of Libyan state oil firm National Oil Corporation (NOC) after three masked persons attacked it in Tripoli, Libya September 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
Smoke rises form the headquarters of Libyan state oil firm National Oil Corporation (NOC) after three masked persons attacked it in Tripoli, Libya September 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hani Amara

The attack happened less than a week after a fragile truce halted fierce clashes between rival armed groups in Tripoli, the latest eruption of violence in Libya, which has been in turmoil since a 2011 uprising.

Armed groups regularly block oilfields to make demands but the NOC headquarters had so far been spared the violence engulfing the North African country.

Militants loyal to Islamic State have previously carried out attacks in Tripoli and other towns, despite having lost their stronghold in the central city of Sirte late in 2016.

Libya has been divided into rival administrations but the NOC has continued to function relatively normally across Libya, which relies on oil exports for most of its income.

Islamist militants have sleeper cells in northern cities as well as mobile units in Libya’s southern desert, according to Libyan and Western officials.

In May, Islamic State claimed a deadly attack on the national election commission offices in Tripoli. The group also claimed an attack in 2015 on the Corinthia hotel, a landmark location in Tripoli.

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