In Libya, militants attacked the office of the electoral Commission, 12 dead

A Libyan National Army member surveys the site of an explosion

A large plume of smoke was visible in the city centre.

The UN mission in Libya condemned the "terrorist attack" and said it extended "its condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives". There were no details available on the fate of the assailants.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, the first of its kind in months to target Tripoli.

At least two of the attackers detonated their explosives when the security forces arrived, Damja added, describing the building as seriously damaged after it caught on fire.

According to multiple reports, militants stormed the building in the capital of Tripoli on Wednesday. Though security across Libya remains volatile, violence in the capital has recently been limited to localised clashes between armed groups. Seven people were wounded.

"This breach targeted democracy, not just the HNEC", Sayah told reporters. Earlier, the Health Ministry said extremists had also set fire to the building in central Tripoli.

Libya has suffered a protracted political crisis since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising ended with the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

The interim government is planning to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of this year, with support from the United Nations. A date hasn't been set for the elections in Libya, which has two competing governments in the east and west.

Some Libyans and members of the global community have questioned the push for new elections this year, expressing concern about the lack of security as well as legal and logistical challenges.

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