A MiG-21 fighter jet belonging to forces loyal to former general Khalifa Haftar takes off from a base on the outskirts of Al Sidra oil port, in Ras Lanuf, in this December 20, 2014 file photo. (Reuters)
TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI: Warplanes from Libya’s official government attacked an oil tanker off the coast near the city of Sirte on Sunday, wounding two people, officials said.
“Our jets warned an unflagged ship off Sirte city, but it ignored the warning,” Saqer Al-Joroushi told Reuters. “We gave it a chance to evaluate the situation, then our fighting jets attacked the ship because it was unloading fighters and weapons,” he added.
“The ship now is on fire. We are at war and we do not accept any security breaches, whether by land, air or sea,” Jourushi added.
An oil industry official said the ship was actually a tanker which had been carrying 25,000 tons of gasoil. He named the tanker as Anwar Afriqya. Rida Essa, commander of coastal guards in central Libya, said the tanker had been unloading gasoil for Sirte’s power plant when it came under attack. The ship was still on fire, he said.
He said a crew member and a port worker had been wounded.
Libya’s is still in the midst of a power struggle between two governments fighting for control, with the internationally recognized government operating out of the east since losing control of the capital in August to the rival grouping.
Sirte’s power plant on the western outskirts of the city is controlled by forces loyal to the Tripoli government. The rest of the city has fallen into the hands of IS.