GUNMEN ATTACKS LIBYA’S BIGGEST OILFIELD AS TRIPOLI BATTLE RAGES

An armed group attacked Libya’s largest oilfield on Monday, but was repelled after clashes with its protection force, while fighting escalated in eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s effort to capture the capital Tripoli.

The state oil company National Oil Corporation (NOC) said unknown gunmen fired a rocket propelled grenade at a control station of the El Sharara oilfield. Guards at the site eventually repelled the attackers, an oil engineer there told Reuters.

There were no casualties among oil workers and production was unaffected, the NOC said in a statement.

OPEC member Libya’s oil output has been repeatedly disrupted by factional conflict and blockades since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Haftar’s three-week-old offensive to seize Tripoli, seat of Libya’s internationally recognized government, has sharpened a power struggle that has fractured Libya since Gaddafi’s fall.

The assault by the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a parallel government based in the eastern city of Benghazi, stalled on Tripoli’s stoutly defended southern outskirts last week.

But fighting intensified again on Monday, with both sides using artillery. Shelling was heard in the center of Tripoli coming from southern districts from morning until late at night, residents said.

Reuters

 

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