Libyan forces seize key oil terminals, official says

Libyan army troops, aligned with an administration rival to the UN-backed unity government, said on Sunday they had seized major oil terminals from a militia.

Ahmed al-Masmari, a spokesman for the troops led by powerful army general Khalifa Haftar, said the forces had captured the al-Sidr and Ras Lanouf terminals in eastern Libya's Oil Crescent region following a surprise attack.

He added that the troops, backed by air power, were fighting to take control of al-Zueitina, a third major oil terminal, from the Oil Facilities Guards militia that is loyal to the unity government.

"The army troops will resolve the battle over the oil fields and terminals with the aim of serving the interests of the country and the citizens," al-Masmari added, according to broadcaster Libya 24.

He gave no casualty figures

Around two years ago, the Oil Facilities Guards seized the oil terminals amid the anarchy that hit Libya after the overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi in a 2011 uprising.

A spokesman for the militia, Ali al-Hassi, denied on Sunday that the pro-Haftar troops had seized the terminals.

"Fighting is still going on," al-Hassi told the Libyan Solidarity News Agency without giving details.

In March, the UN-backed unity government arrived in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, amid international hopes it would be able to re-establish stability in the oil-rich country.

However, Haftar and a supportive parliament, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, have refused to recognize the Tripoli government. 

Last update: Sun, 11/09/2016 - 22:02

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