Fighting between rival militias resumed close to Libya’s largest oil port on Tuesday, while Islamic State claimed another attack in Tripoli, as the country further descends into lawlessness.
Islamic State’s Tripoli faction had already said it was behind an attack on the upmarket Corinthia hotel in the capital last week that killed nine people, including an American.
Clashes erupted at the Sidra oil terminal between Dawn, an Islamist militia that controls the capital Tripoli, and forces loyal to the internationally recognized government based in the east of the country, according to the Facebook pages of both factions and Libyan oil officials.
Dawn said it was making military progress and inflicted heavy casualties on the troops of Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who supports the legitimate government. It also said one of its fighters had died and nine had been wounded. The First Brigade of the Libyan National Armyled by Gen. Hifteronly acknowledged that fighting had erupted near Sidra.
There was no official confirmation of casualties in the fighting.
The oil port, situated in eastern Libya, normally exports 400,000 barrels a day—about a third of Libya’s capacity, but it has been out of operation because of damage caused by fighting in December.
In recent months, the Islamist faction, which has seized Tripoli, has fought the internationally recognized government for control of the country’s vital oil industry.
On Tuesday, a group calling itself Islamic State’s Tripoli Province, using Islamic State’s main Twitter account, claimed responsibility for the bombing of a military vehicle on Monday in Tripoli. Attacks by Islamic State in Libya raise fears that the reach of the extremists is spreading beyond Syria and Iraq.
Source: The Wall Street Journal