BENGHAZI, Libya, March 5 East Libyan forces
resumed air strikes against rival factions on Sunday as they
tried to push them back from positions around the major oil
terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, a military spokesman said.
The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) is attempting
to regain control of the ports after being forced to withdraw on
Friday by an attack by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB).
On Sunday afternoon, LNA warplanes targeted positions near
Es Sider and south of the coastal town of Ben Jawad, about 30 km
(20 miles) to the east, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari told
There were also clashes between the rival forces on the
ground, security and oil officials said, though it was not
immediately clear whether either side had advanced.
The ports are among Libya's largest, though both terminals
were badly damaged by previous rounds of fighting and have been
operating far below their pre-conflict capacity.
The fighting, which is linked to a broader, stop-start
conflict between political and military factions based in
eastern and western Libya, threatens efforts to revive Libya's
National output more than doubled after the LNA took control
of the oil ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina and Brega in
September. All the ports except for Brega had long been
Production has recently been fluctuating around 700,000
barrels per day (bpd), but remains far below the 1.6 million bpd
Libya was pumping before the 2011 uprising that ousted its
veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Since then, the North African
country has been riven by chaos and factional fighting.
The BDB are partly made up of fighters who fled Benghazi as
the LNA advanced. The LNA has been waging a military campaign
for nearly three years against Islamists and other opponents in
the eastern city.
(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Aidan Lewis;
Editing by Mark Trevelyan)