At least 12 people were reported killed and a 420,000 barrel oil tank is ablaze tonight after ISIS forces moved against the oil port in the Libyan coastal city of Sidra, attacking guards at the outskirts of the facility.
ISIS has been expanding from the city of Sirte toward the facilities at Ras Lanauf and Sidra, aiming to expand not just their territory but their control over Libyan oil wealth. In years past, Libya was a major source of oil to Europe, but wars since the NATO-imposed regime change have left those shipments intermittent, at best.
The Libyan parliament at Tobruk downplayed today’s strike, saying they’d mustered Air Force resources to resist the ISIS attack and had “repelled” them from the area. ISIS has insisted the fighting continues against the “enemies of God.”
At least 12 ISIS vehicles were involved in the initial attack, and a suicide bomber hit the checkpoint leading to the port. Fighting escalated around the port entrance. It’s unclear how the oil tank caught fire, but it was near the clashes.