NORTH AFRICA

Libyan forces clash with ISIS fighters near Dhara oilfield

A member of the Libyan pro-government forces patrols a rural area on the outskirts of the eastern coastal city of Benghazi. (File photo: AFP)

Libyan forces fought suspected ISIS fighters, killing three of them near an oilfield run by Waha Oil in the southeast of the country, a local official said on Saturday.

One soldier was killed and five wounded during two days of clashes, one of which took place near the Dhahra oilfield on Saturday, said Umar al-Faqeh, head of the Maradah administration to which the area belongs. There had been fighting already in another area on Friday, he added.

The field is operated by Waha, a joint-venture between Libya’s state National Oil Company and US firms Hess, Marathon and ConocoPhillips.

The oil protection force guarding the Waha operations is allied to country’s eastern government. The UN-backed administration sits in the capital Tripoli in western Libya.

ANALYSIS: Why ISIS continues to be a dangerous force in Libya

The North African country has been mired in conflict since the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 and in December armed men blew up a Waha pipeline pumping crude to Es Sider port, temporarily cutting Libyan output by around 100,000 barrels per day. Officials blamed “terrorists”, without giving details.

The area has poor security and sources say it has been populated by ISIS fighters since they lost control of their stronghold in Libya, the central city of Sirte, in 2016.

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Last Update: Saturday, 3 February 2018 KSA 20:29 - GMT 17:29
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