Jan 28, 2015 4:49 AM
Libyan Islamic State group affiliate claims hotel attack
The Associated Press
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) A Libyan affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility Wednesday for an attack on a Tripoli luxury hotel that killed 10 people, including an American and four Europeans.
The group called "Islamic State in Tripoli Province" said it launched the attack Tuesday to avenge the death of Abu Anas al-Libi, who was indicted in U.S. federal court over his alleged role in the 1998 al-Qaida bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Al-Libi was snatched off a street in Tripoli by U.S. special forces in 2013 and died in U.S. custody in January due to complications from liver surgery.
The group identified the attackers as Abu Ibrahim al-Tunsi and Abu Suleiman al-Sudani, noms de guerre that suggest the attackers were Tunisian and Sudanese. The claim of responsibility was dated Tuesday while it was posted Wednesday on jihadi forums.
"The operation is not the last one on the lands of Tripoli. ... Let the enemies of God, the crusaders and their allies await what would harm them," the message read.
The affiliate previously claimed responsibility for a recent attack on the Algerian Embassy that wounded three guards. It also previously posted pictures before for its men touring markets and distributing pamphlets. The posting Wednesday matched previous messages released by the group.
The attack Tuesday targeted the seaside Corinthia Hotel and also killed five guards. Two attackers were killed following an hourslong standoff that included a car bombing.
A senior U.S. State Department official confirmed that a U.S. citizen was among those killed. Cliff Taylor, the CEO of a Virginia security company, Crucible LLC, identified the slain American as David Berry, a contractor with his company.
The online message said that those killed were American, French, South Korean and Filipino. Earlier, Essam al-Naasa, a spokesman for a Tripoli security agency, said the dead included an American, a French citizen and three others from the former Soviet Union.
Libya has been plagued by violence between rival militias and governments since its 2011 civil war saw dictator Moammar Gadhafi toppled and killed. A group of Islamist militias now control Tripoli.