ISIS has claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on the headquarters of Libyan state oil firm NOC in Tripoli, the militant 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. On Monday, the three men attacked the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation before blowing themselves up.
A powerful brigade operating under the interior ministry, known as the Special Deterrence Force, or Rada, released photos of the attackers as they rampaged through the NOC carrying guns, grenades and explosive belts. CCTV shows the attackers walking in at 8.51am and shooting at people. It’s unclear exactly when the suicide belts were detonated but at least two attackers were still standing at 9.07am.
Rada also shared graphic photos of the attackers after they detonated their suicide vests. In one, a single leg lies with the flesh charred and a severed hand rests on top. Another shows a patch of skin, hair and an ear split apart from another part of the face with a patch of skull sticking out.
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Rada, a religiously conservative group that bills itself as an anti-terror outfit, is just one of many brigades that have been integrated into government security forces but largely operate as they please. Despite the criticism levelled at groups like Rada, it was they who secured the scene when the NOC was attacked and evacuated oil chief Mustafa Sanallah. The state oil company has been praised as one of the few truly functioning Libyan institutions in a country wracked by turmoil and corruption. Production is currently hovering around one million barrels per day.