Gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Tuesday, killing four foreigners and five guards, and triggering an hours-long standoff that ended when two assailants set off a grenade that killed them, officials said.

The attack on the Corinthia Hotel, which sits along the Mediterranean Sea, underscores the lawlessness that this North African country descended into following the 2011 ouster and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The State Department said it was looking into reports of an American casualty in Tuesday’s attack.

The attack started in the morning hours and included a car bombing, said Essam al-Naas, a spokesman for a Tripoli security agency. […]