The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) has claimed responsibility for dual attacks against the embassies of Morocco and South Korea in the Libyan capital Tripoli Monday.
Damage but no casualties were reported in the attack against the Moroccan embassy; however, two local security staff guarding the South Korean embassy were killed in a shootout with militants, Libyan officials said.
This is not the first attack against diplomatic missions: In mid-November, a number of car bombs exploded outside the diplomatic missions of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). No casualties were reported as the two embassies had been closed for some time.
In January 2014, the Russian embassy came under repeated attacks.
The attacks in Tripoli come a day after an ISIL-affiliated group claimed responsibility for two attacks at a police station and military checkpoint which killed 14 people – mostly security personnel – in the Sinai in Egypt.
Security experts see the attacks against these countries as a means of “retribution” for their participation in the US-led anti-ISIL military coalition (Operation Inherent Resolve) which has curbed ISIL’s offensive capabilities in Iraq and Syria.
While Egypt has been waging its own war against extremist groups – which have since October declared allegiance to ISIL, the UAE has provided jet fighters to participate in bombing raids against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
In December 2014, Morocco contributed F-16s to the anti-ISIL coalition.
Morocco is also currently hosting UN-backed talks between the rival factions that had been fighting for control of Libya in the years following the ouster and killing of Muammar Qaddafi.
The Libyan government fled to the eastern city of Benghazi last summer, after an Islamist group calling it self Libya Dawn seized government buildings in the capital Tripoli, to the west.
They then established a rival government and parliament. Several months of internationally sponsored talks have failed to produce any results.
While Libya Dawn is an Islamist group, it is not affiliated with ISIL. On March 25, it accused ISIL of beheading five of its fighters near the coastal town of Sirte, which lies halfway between Benghazi and Tripoli.
On Monday, the European Union and the US called for speedy and “unconditional” talks to resolve Libya’s political and security crises.
“We strongly urge all participants to the dialogue to negotiate in good faith and use this opportunity to finalize agreements on the formation of a national unity government,” they said in a joint statement.
“Only through compromise can Libya move toward a more secure, stable, and prosperous future,” they said.
The BRICS POST with inputs from Agencies