Terror strike on Libyan electoral commission leaves at least 7 dead

AFP IS suicide attack on Libya election commission kills 12

At least 12 people died Wednesday at Libya's electoral commission headquarters in the capital when two suicide bombers blew themselves up.

They then set the building on fire and detonated the suicide vests they were wearing.

In the past, attacks in the capital have mostly been confined to targeting security forces linked to the state or militias, as well as diplomatic mission buildings and foreigners.

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since a 2011 civil war resulted in the overthrow of longstanding ruler Muammar Gaddafi by rebel fighters backed by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air strikes.

The assailants also opened fire on employees of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) and fought a gun battle with security forces trying to regain control of the site, officials said.

Libya's health ministry published a "provisional toll" of three seriously wounded.

Plumes of black smoke rose from the office building in the Ghout al-Shaal enclave near Tripoli's downtown, according to images and video posted on social media by witnesses.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert condemned the attack in a statement and said the committed to working with the Government of National Accord to deny IS "safe haven in their country". United Nations envoys have repeatedly emphsised the need for elections this year.

As of March, 2.4 million Libyan voters had been registered of a population of six million.

But the Islamic State group apparently hopes that the turmoil will continue in Libya so the militants can regain influence in the country. A date hasn't been set for the elections in Libya, which has two competing governments in the east and west.