Libya air raid destroys warehouse, wounds three, says oil firm

Libyans gather amidst debris in Tajoura, south of the Libyan capital Tripoli on June 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 20 June 2019
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Libya air raid destroys warehouse, wounds three, says oil firm

  • “This is another tragic loss caused by this unnecessary conflict,” said NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla

TRIPOLI: Libya’s National Oil Company deplored an air raid that on Tuesday evening destroyed a warehouse operated by a subsidiary and wounded three personnel near Tripoli.

“A warehouse owned by subsidiary Mellitah Oil & Gas Company (MOG) was destroyed by aerial bombardment,” the NOC said in a statement on its website.

“The attack and resulting fire destroyed valuable equipment and materials in addition to the warehouse itself,” it said, adding that three MOG employees had been lightly wounded and taken to hospital.

Tripoli is controlled by forces loyal to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), but eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive against the capital in early April. Images published by the NOC show a building devastated by fire, which was extinguished by fire fighters.

“This is another tragic loss caused by this unnecessary conflict,” said NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla.

“NOC infrastructure is being destroyed before our eyes. The lives of oil sector workers are continually being put at risk,” he added. The air raid poses a risk to oil production, Sanalla said, vowing to work with local authorities to “ascertain the origin of this unprovoked attack.”

The raid is the fourth attack against installations supported by the NOC since Haftar launched his offensive.

Counter-attacks against the LNA by forces loyal to the GNA have resulted in stalemate on the capital’s southern outskirts.

No side has yet claimed responsibility for the attack against the warehouse owned by MOG, a joint venture between the NOC and Italian energy firm ENI.

But forces loyal to the GNA have blamed Haftar’s forces.

The fighting since early April has killed 653 people, including 41 civilians, and wounded more than 3,500 — of which some 100 are non-combatants — according to the last count by the World Health Organization.

The UN says 94,000 people have fled the combat zones.


Turkey blocked from US F-35 program after Russian missile purchase

Updated 6 min 14 sec ago
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Turkey blocked from US F-35 program after Russian missile purchase

  • “The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program"

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Wednesday that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move that had been long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week.
The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing Turkey’s deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.
“The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program,” said Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.
“The United States is spending between $500 and $600 million in non-recurring engineering in order to shift the supply chain,” she said.
Used by NATO and other US allies, the F-35 stealth fighter jet is the world’s most advanced jet fighter. Washington is concerned that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would allow Russia to gain too much inside information of the stealth system.
“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement earlier on Wednesday.
Washington has long said the acquisition may lead to Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.
The Pentagon had already laid out a plan to remove Turkey from the program, including halting any new training for Turkish pilots on the advanced aircraft.
“The situation with Turkey is a government-to-government matter and we’ll comply with any guidance issued by the United States Government,” said a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin Corp. , the prime contractor on the jet.