TRIPOLI - At least two Islamic State (IS) affiliates launched an attack on Libya's biggest hotel in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday, killing three people and injured several others, according to security sources.
Some local witnesses said a bomb was detonated at Corinthia Hotel's parking lot around 10:00 a.m. local time, shaking the whole central area of the city, and then two men firing guns dashing into the hotel building.
A large number of security forces were on the scene. A security source told Xinhua that three guards were killed and the gunmen have taken some hostages, making it a standoff.
Nearby office buildings were evacuated after the explosion.
The IS offshoot in Libya "Tripoli Province" claimed the attack on its official social media webpage, calling it the "Battle of Sheikh Abu Anas al-Libi."
It said the reason for the explosion is that the hotel contained "non-Muslim diplomatic missions and security companies."
Al-Libi was an alleged al-Qaida operative who was captured by US special forces in Libya, and died this month in a U.S. hospital.
Corinthia, one of the last operational hotels in Tripoli, once hosted many government branches, foreign embassies, and staff of media and foreign enterprises.
Libya's former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was abducted by gunmen from the hotel in 2013 and later released.
Tripoli fell to the hands of the armed Islamist coalition Libya Dawn last August, when the internationally recognized Libyan government retreated to the eastern town of Tobruk.
The city has been plagued by bomb attacks, assassinations and kidnappings.
Several embassies, including those of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have been targeted by militants in similar bomb attacks.