Editor's note: We continue to monitor the situation at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya, which came under attack by masked gunmen Tuesday. The number of victims remains unclear and both foreigners and security officials are said to have been killed, according to officials and eyewitness reports. The BBC has been told that two gunmen remain inside the hotel, and reports Islamic State has made an unverified claim of responsibility. - Tricia
Libya (Arabic: ليبيا Lībyā), (Amazigh: ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ Libya), officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the 17th largest country in the world.
The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is home to 1.7 million of Libya's 6.4 million people. In 2009 Libya had the highest HDI in Africa and the fifth highest GDP (PPP) per capita in Africa, behind Equatorial Guinea, Seychelles, Gabon, and Botswana. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world and the 17th-highest petroleum production.
A civil war and NATO-led military intervention in 2011 resulted in the ousting and death of the country's former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and the collapse of his 42-year "First of September 'Al Fateh' Revolution" and 34-year-old Jamahiriya state. Since then, Libya has gradually descended into its current state of virtual anarchy.
Libya is theoretically governed by a parliament known as the House of Representatives elected in the June 2014 elections. However the parliament's control of the country is severely limited by the internal conflict against Islamic fundamentalist "terrorist organisations". Officially, the House of Representatives took over from the General National Congress, which was elected in July 2012 to serve until January 2014. However, a minority of the General National Congress, having lost the elections, reconvened in August 2014. The self-proclaimed General National Congress meets in Tripoli, while the House of Representatives meets in Tobruk.