Air strikes, clashes near two eastern
Libyan oil ports
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[December 13, 2014]
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Forces
loyal to Libya's recognized government conducted air strikes on targets
on Saturday near the eastern oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es-Sider to stop
an advance by a rival force toward the facilities, officials said.
The oil ports, two of Libya's biggest, accounting for more than
300,000 barrels a day of exports, were working normally, an oil
The North African country is caught in a conflict between two
competing governments, parliaments and chiefs of staff, allied to
armed factions, part of turmoil three years after the ouster of
Saqer al-Joroushi, an air force commander allied to Prime Minister
Abdullah al-Thinni, said his aircraft had attacked positions near
Sirte, a costal city in central Libya.
He said a rival force from Misrata, a coastal city west of Sirte and
the ports, had advanced toward the terminals with a large number of
vehicles. "We bombed them to stop them from entering the ports," he
Tripoli-based al-Nabaa television said a force it said had been
mandated by the General National Congress (GNC), a rival assembly
based in Tripoli since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital
in August, had started an operation to take the ports.
It quoted the head of the force, adding that two people had been
killed in clashes near Es-Sider port. Websites close to Libya Dawn
also said such an operation had started.
Thinni has been forced to work out of the east since Libya Dawn
seized the capital Tripoli after a one-month battle, setting up its
own cabinet and reinstating the previous assembly, the GNC.
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The House of Representatives, elected in June, is also working out
of the east.
Both governments have sought to control the oil facilities, the
country's only source of income. Last month, Libya Dawn took over
the southern El Sharara oilfield, one of the country's biggest,
after a rival force from Zintan allied to Thinni had withdrawn.
Thinni said last week his government were trying to control the oil
revenues by setting up a payment system outside the central bank in
(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Ulf Laessing; editing by Ralph
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