Libya Clashes
Representational - Black smoke billows out of a storage oil tank in the port of Es Sider in Ras Lanuf December 25, 2014. A rocket hit a storage tank at the eastern Libyan oil of port Es Sider as armed factions allied to competing governments fought for control of the country's biggest export terminal.Reuters

One of Libya's biggest hotels witnessed a terror siege on Tuesday, as a car bomb exploded outside while gunmen shot dead five foreigners and three guards. 

The bomb went off outside the Corinthia hotel in Libya's capital of Tripoli early on Tuesday morning, and at least five gunmen are believed to have stormed into the hotel, opening fire at guests.

At least five foreigners  and three guards were killed by the gunmen, while several people are believed to have been taken hostage.

The Tripoli branch of the Islamic State (Isis) is said to have claimed responsibility for the attack, seen to be a retaliation to the recent death of Libyan Anas al-Libi, who was in a US jail for his alleged role in the 1998 US embassy bombings, according to the Site Intelligence monitoring group.

The Corinthia hotel usually hosts patrons from countries such as Italy and Britain, though the nationalities of the dead is not yet known. The hotel is also the venue for the United Nations support mission in Libya to hold its meetings. 

While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, some tweets suggested that the Islamic State or its supporters had claimed the attack. 

Libya has been plagued by frequent terror attacks, including car bombings in the past months as armed rival groups fight for power.