Libyan forces claim control of oil crescent despite renewed fighting

File photo showing smoke and flame rise from an oil storage tank that was set on fire during clashes at Ras Lanuf terminal, the oil crescent, Libya, June 18, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Libyan forces claim control of oil crescent despite renewed fighting

  • The Libyan army spokesperson said that “our orders are to end the militia’s presence in the oil crescent once and for all.”
  • Seven members of Libya’s armed forces were killed in renewed fighting around the port of Ras Lanuf.

LONDON: Seven members of Libya’s armed forces were killed in renewed fighting around the port of Ras Lanuf.
The official spokesman for the Libyan National Army confirmed that army units are in control of the entire oil crescent region but sent units to mop up opposition forces who gathered west of the region.
Col. Ahmed Al-Mesmari said, in an interview on Al-Arabiya Channel, that Libyan army units continue their operation against Al-Jadran militia and their allies south of Nofaliah and in the area known as KM60 east of the city of Sirte.
Al-Mesmari added the army units have been chasing the militants since taking over unit one of the ‘Ras Lanuf’ oil compound. Al-Mesmari revealed also that the militias left behind huge quantities of weapons, ammunition, and vehicles in addition to several prisoners.
The Libyan army spokesperson added that “our orders are to end the militia’s presence in the oil crescent once and for all.”
Earlier, the Libyan army chief of staff General Khalifah Haftar declared in an audio recording that the objective of his units is to liberate the oil crescent from militia control and to return the vital oil installation to the country’s economy.
General Haftar also said that he holds the leader of the local militia in the oil crescent Ibrahim Al-Jadran responsible for the latest clashes.
Al-Jadran has defied all Libyan administrations since the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, in 2011.
Al-Jadran also succeeded in the past in halting all oil exports from the oil crescent areain Libya until his forces were routed by the army, in 2016.


Four killed in torrential Tunisia rains

Updated 16 min 20 sec ago
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Four killed in torrential Tunisia rains

NABEUL, Tunisia: Flash floods in Tunisia’s Cap Bon peninsula have killed at least four people, authorities said Sunday, as surging waters caused by heavy rains carried away homes, cars and chunks of road.
Among the four dead were two sisters, swept away as they left work at a factory in Bou Argoub, 45 kilometers southeast of the capital, the interior ministry said.
A 60-year-old man drowned near the town of Takilsa and another man was found dead in Bir Bouregba, close to the town of Hammamet, ministry spokesman Sofiene Zaag told AFP.
Saturday’s storm caused water levels in some areas to rise as much as 1.7 meters (5.6 feet), as bridges and roads were damaged in record rains that dropped the equivalent of nearly six months of average precipitation.
“It was raining since noon and (in the afternoon) it became torrential. The water flooded over the bridge and onto the road,” Moncef Barouni, a resident in the coastal town of Nabeul, told AFP.
In just minutes, “the water swept away the fence, then the boiler room, the summer kitchen and a part of the house,” he said.
“I was scared for my life.”
The storm dumped 200 millimeters (7.9 inches) of rain on Nabeul and up to 225 millimeters in the city of Beni Khalled, in the peninsula’s center, according to Tunisia’s National Institute of Meteorology.
It was the heaviest rainfall since the institute began keeping a record in 1995, the institute said, adding that it had issued a warning about the storms on Friday.
Videos posted to social networks showed surging waters carrying cars and pieces of road in the north of the peninsula.
Tunisian authorities said they had dispatched police, army and rescue teams to the region on Saturday afternoon, in addition to mobilizing ambulances and two helicopters.
Authorities also took preventative measures in the Sahel region further south in anticipation of further rains, but by Sunday they appeared to have subsided.
The sun was out Sunday and receding water levels meant most of the area’s roads were passable by car, Zaag said, although the region’s telephone networks were still largely out of service.
Severe thunderstorms have hit the North African country since the middle of last week, flooding roads and damaging property, sparking anger against the authorities for allegedly failing to maintain drainage systems.