Tripoli embassy says Corinthia attack targeted Al Hassi government

Chargé d'Affairs at Attard Libyan embassy says leader of National Salvation Government was target in attack

Chargé d'Affairs at the Attard Libyan embassy, Hussin Musrati
Chargé d'Affairs at the Attard Libyan embassy, Hussin Musrati

The chargé d’affairs at the Libyan embassy at Attard representing the National Salvation Government of Tripoli, told journalists that the target of the Corinthia attack on Tuesday had been their leader, Omar al Hassi.

Condemning the violent terrorist attack, Hussin Musrati expressed his condolences to the families of the nine victims of the attack. He confirmed that that four of the victims were Libyan nationals while the rest were foreign nationals. Two of those killed were involved in the attack.

The Tripoli government contests the legitimacy of the internationally-recognised Libyan government led by Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni, who moved his government to the city of Tobruk after Misrata forces took the Libyan capital.

The authorities controlled by the Tripoli government have detained a man, suspected to be a collaborator in the attack, and was being interrogated.

“The man was caught on CCTV,” Musrati said. “We condemn this terrorist attack that goes against any religious and human values.”

Musrati said al Hassi was the target of the attack: “He was present in the Corinthia Hotel with a foreign delegation when the attack took place. This is an attack against the salvation government to undermine its efforts and work in Tripoli.”

He could not confirm the identity of the delegation who at the time was in the hotel but said it was a common thing for foreign diplomats to reside at the hotel.

Musrati said he wanted to reassure Malta that the attack was not against Malta or Maltese citizens residing in Libya: “This was a terrorist attack against all humanity.”

He said that if the attacks had truly been carried out by IS affiliates, the rapid action undertaken by the salvation government showed that it had acted immediately to protect human lives.

“If the attack was carried out by factions who still support Gaddafi or are allied with General Khalifa Haftar, it’s because they want to spread fear in Libya.”

Following emerging reports that the Tripoli government was blaming the one in Tobruk for the attack, Musrati said “we aren’t sure”.

ISIS this morning released pictures of the two terrorists who carried out yesterday’s attack, claiming that one was a Tunisian and the other a Sudanese.

Musrati did not confirm this information, saying that terrorism held no age or nationality and it was everywhere. Asked to confirm the presence of ISIS in Libya, he insisted that extremists were everywhere and went on to urge the international community to help Libya with the collection of firearms which are still in the hands of citizens.

Musrati once again called on Maltese MPs to meet with him while urging the government to help bring “the two sides” together for a talk.

The government based in Tobruk, led by Prime Minister Abdullah Al Thinni, is recognised by the international community. The Libyan Salvation Government took control over Tripoli after the Libyan supreme court ruled Al-Thinni’s parliament unlawful.

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