At least ten people have been killed in the Libyan capital Tripoli after militants attacked the Corinthia Hotel in the city.

The lengthily stand-off yesterday is also said to have included a carbomb that exploded in the hotel’s car park after a protection force entered the lobby and opened fire on the gunmen and killed two of them.

The Malta-owned hotel was targeted as it houses diplomatic missions as well as ‘crusader’ security companies, AP reported.

"Gunmen were identified online as sympathisers of the Islamic State group."

US-based militant monitoring group the SITE Intelligence Group reported that the gunmen were identified online as sympathisers of the Islamic State group. The attack has been claimed by militants on behalf of a group called the Islamic State of the Tripoli Province.

When the attacks took place, the hotel had Italian, British and Turkish guests in addition to a visiting American delegation, according to the hotel staff.

The main target behind the attack was reportedly Libyan Prime Minister Omar al-Hassi, who normally resides at the hotel.

Hotel staff claim that gunmen killed guards and took hostages but took no further information.

The Corinthia Hotel is claimed to be among the most luxurious in Tripoli and is the place where the United Nations support mission in Libya usually holds its meetings.