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Nat’l Oil Corpn's Tripoli offices under attack

photo by AP photo

Smoke shrouded the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli

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11th-Sep-2018       
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Al Jazeera News :
Armed men have stormed the headquarters of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli, where a blast and gunfire were heard, according to officials and witnesses.
The six gunmen attacked the building on Monday, Interior Minister Brigadier General Abdul Salam Ashour told the Associated Press, and have taken several people hostage.
"Our forces will go in and rescue the hostages," Ashour said.
Witnesses said the firm's headquarters caught fire, while photos posted on social media show firefighters trying to evacuate people from the building's top floors.
They also showed wounded people being carried away from the scene.
Ahmed Ben Salem, a spokesman for al-Redaa, an armed group that operates as Tripoli's police force, said the security forces are looking for the gunmen, but their "priority is to evacuate the civilians stuck inside".
"The situation is under control," he told AFP news agency.
He was not able to provide details on the identity of the attackers.
An NOC staff who said he jumped out of a window to flee told Reuters that "several people were shot" during the attack.
Another employee told AFP he heard an explosion there soon after masked men exchanged gunfire with guards.
No group has so far claimed the attack.
Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said the situation was still uncertain.
"Special security forces have cordoned off the area surrounding the headquarters of NOC and are engaging with the gunmen inside the building," he said.
"We are also getting reports some employees trapped inside are calling for help and that people living nearby are trying to help them escape from other gates," he added.
Musthafa Sanallah, NOC chairman, was safely evacuated from the firm, Reuters said.
The attack on Monday came less than a week after a fragile truce suspended fierce clashes between rival armed groups in Tripoli, the latest eruption of violence in Libya, which has been in turmoil since a 2011 uprising.
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.

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