TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Islamic State militants in Libya have killed two Tunisian journalists kidnapped last year, Libyan officials said on Wednesday, following the murder of five television reporters discovered this week.
The Tunisian government will immediately send a delegation to Libya to discuss the case, said a Tunis official, declining to confirm the deaths of Sofian Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari who were kidnapped about eight months ago.
A spokesman for Libya’s official government based in eastern Libya said an arrested militant had admitted that his group had killed the two reporters.
The spokesman said that was the same group of Islamic State militants that had killed five journalists - an Egyptian and four Libyans - working for Libya Barqa TV channel. Their bodies with slit throats were found in eastern Libya on Monday.
A statement by the rival self-declared government in Tripoli also said the two Tunisians had been killed, citing its investigations with suspects.
The journalists working for Barqa TV had been missing since August, when they set off for Benghazi from the eastern city of Tobruk after covering the inauguration of the country’s elected parliament there. Their route took them through Derna, a militant Islamist hotspot.
Militants loyal to Islamic State have exploited a security vacuum in Libya, where two governments and parliaments allied to host of various armed groups are fighting each other on several fronts four years after the ousting of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Islamic State, which has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq, has claimed responsibility in Libya for the killing of 30 Ethiopian and 21 Egyptian Christians as well as an attack on a Tripoli hotel, embassies and oilfields.
Reporting by Tarek Amara, Ayman al-Warfalli and Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Tom Heneghan