Suicide bombers have stormed Libyaâ€™s electoral commission in Tripoli, killing at least a dozen people in an attack claimed by Islamic State jihadists.
The bloodshed comes as the international community pushes for elections it hopes will help calm the turmoil that has plagued the north African country since the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Two armed assailants attacked the electoral commission building, shooting guards and officials before blowing themselves up, interior minister Abdelsalam Ashour told a news conference on Wednesday.
The internationally backed Government of National Accord denounced â€œthe cowardly suicide attackâ€� and pledged its â€œcommitment to the democratic processâ€�.
At least 12 people were killed and seven wounded, according to the health ministry.
Two policemen were among those killed, the interior ministry said.
Eyewitnesses earlier said shots and at least two explosions were heard, while black smoke could be seen rising from the commission headquarters.
Isis issued a statement claiming the attack, which it said was in response to a call by its spokesman this month to target polling stations in the Middle East.
The United Nations mission in Libya condemned the assault and extended condolences to victimsâ€™ families.
â€œSuch terrorist attacks will not deter Libyans from moving forward in the process of consolidating national unity and building the state of law and institutions,â€� it said on Twitter.
France and Britain condemned the attack, which British foreign minister Boris Johnson called â€œdespicableâ€�.
The US State Department issued a statement â€œstronglyâ€� condemning the bombings: â€œThis terrorist attack against a key pillar of Libyaâ€™s fragile democracy only deepens the United Statesâ€™ commitment to support all Libyans as they prepare for credible and secure elections.â€�