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Gunmen attack headquarters of Libya’s national oil firm

Several armed men attacked the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli on Monday and several blasts could be heard, a Reuters witness said.

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

“Three or five gunmen were shooting inside the building,” an NOC staff member told Reuters after he said he had jumped out of a window to escape. “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 chairman of Libya‘s state oil firm, Mustafa Sanallah, was safely evacuated from the headquarters, a witness told Reuters.

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

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.

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

Tripoli was shaken by clashes between rival armed groups late last month as they vied for greater control of the capital.

Since 2011, when longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled, no one group has been able to seize control of Tripoli and clashes between rival groups have been frequent.

Recent fighting slowed down after the UN brokered a ceasefire on 3 September.

But the capital has also seen occasional militant attacks. In May, Islamic State 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.


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