Gunmen Open Fire on South Korean Embassy in Libya

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Unidentified gunmen fired shots at the South Korean embassy in Libya’s capital Tripoli on April 12, killing two local security guards, reports Reuters.

The gunmen fired 40 rounds of machine-gun rounds from a car at an embassy guard post, killing two security guards who were employed by the Libyan government and wounding another, according to a Tripoli security official.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that militants claiming to be loyal to the Islamic State were behind the attack. Following the assault on the South Korean embassy, a bomb exploded at the gate of the Morroccan embassy in Tripoli early Monday.

A group identifying itself as the Tripoli chapter of the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for both attacks via Twitter, according to the Washington Post. The tweet’s authenticity could not be independently verified. However if the claim proves to true, then it would be the first time the militant group has targeted a South Korean diplomatic mission in the Middle East.

South Korea is one of the few countries that still has an embassy in Tripoli.

Libya has been torn by armed conflict between two rival governments since Muammar Gaddafi’s fall in 2011. Militants pledging loyalty to the Islamic State have also claimed responsibility for several high-profile assaults on foreigners and embassies in Libya this year, including the attack on Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel in January and the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.

On Sunday, Washington strongly condemned the shooting at the South Korean embassy in Tripoli and expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.

“We continue to support the United Nations-led process to establish a national unity government in Libya as the best hope for Libyans to address this terrorist threat and to confront the violence and instability that impedes Libya’s political transition and development,” a State Department spokesman told Yonhap.

South Korea has issued a ban on travel to Libya due to security concerns. The foreign ministry said there has been no South Korean casualties and is considering relocating the embassy staff, according to Reuters.


Featured image by Ismail Zitouny/Reuters