ISIS presses on with assault on key Libyan facility

January 6, 2016, 8:10am

AFP on News24
Photo: iStock

Tripoli - Clashes on Tuesday raged between the Islamic State jihadist group and forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government near key oil facilities on the coast, an official said.

"Fighting continued between Daesh and oil facility guards backed by the air force," a spokesperson for the guards said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"The fighting is happening in an area 20km southwest of Al-Sidra and we have lost seven men," he said.

ISIS has for several weeks been trying to push east from its coastal stronghold of Sirte to reach Libya's "oil crescent" and the key oil terminals of Al-Sidra and Ras Lanouf.

ISIS fighters on Monday launched attacks, including a suicide car bombing, near both oil terminals but were repulsed, an army official said.

The pro-ISIS Amaq news agency released video footage showing ISIS fighters entering Al-Sidra on Monday.

The jihadist group said the attack came after it took control of Ben Jawad town, 150km east of Sirte.

Air strikes were carried out "from dawn until dusk" on jihadist targets between Al-Sidra and Ben Jawad, an army official said.