Report: E. Libyan Forces Launch Airstrikes Near El Feel Oil Field

Report: E. Libyan Forces Launch Airstrikes Near El Feel Oil Field TRIPOLI, LELEMUKU.COM - Eastern Libyan forcesloyal to commander Khalifa Haftar carried out four airstrikesnear the El Feel oil field as a warning to a rival commander, afield engineer said Saturday.

It was the first military action by the eastern army sinceit banned all flights in southern Libya without itsauthorizationon Friday.

The strikes were directed at commander AliKennah, who wasinside the compound at the time, the engineer told Reuters.

Kennahis allied with the internationallyrecognizedTripoligovernment, while Haftar backs a parallel administration in theeast.

The fractured political climate has caused significantdisruption to the country's oil industry.

The Tripoli Government of National Accord (GNA), backed bythe United Nations, said in a statement that the strike targeteda civilian plane that was trying to evacuate a number of woundedpeople from the oil field to Tripoli.

The strikes damaged the oil field's infrastructure and itsairport runway and "put civilian lives at risk,"the statementadded, without adding details of any casualties.

State oil firm NOC, which runs the El Feel field withforeign partners,could not be immediately reached for comment.

Haftar is a dominant figure in eastern Libya where hisLibyan National Army group seized the second-largest city ofBenghazi in 2017 by expelling Islamists and other fighters.

Last month, his forces started an offensive in the south tofight militants and secure its oil fields, and on Wednesday madegood on the promise by moving on the closed ElShararafield.

His forces have occupied a pumping station 20 kilometers (12miles) from the main ElShararafield but not the rest of the315,000-barrel-a-day site, according to a field engineer.

The El Feel field is located in the same southwestern regionand is still producing crude, usually around 70,000 barrels aday.

ElShararawas shut in December after tribesmen and stateguards seized it.

Kennah, the commander of the Sabha military zone who servedunder former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, was appointed by PrimeMinister FayezSerajlast week. Fayez leads the GNA. (VOA)

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