Libya asks Italy to help extinguish fire at biggest oil port

Smoke rises from an oil tank fire in Es Sider port December 26, 2014. Reuters

(Reuters) – Libya has called on Italy to send firefighters to prevent a fire spreading out of control at Es Sider, the country’s biggest oil port, officials said on Saturday.

A rocket hit an oil storage tank last week at the port in the east of the country during clashes between forces allied to Libya’s competing governments.

Ali al-Hassi, spokesman for a security force allied to the internationally-recognized government, said the fire had spread to a total of five oil tanks.

“We are trying to extinguish it but our capacities are limited,” he said.

The North African country is struggling with fighting on several fronts as brigades of former rebels who battled side by side to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 now compete for political power and a share of oil revenues…

There is a brief summary of the political situation in Libya at the link. Further background reading can be found by clicking on the tag “Libya”. Three posts that summarize things:

Nov 11, 2014: Libya: Civil war draws in the south; Who’s who summary

Oct 31, 2014: Libya: Baghdadi proclaimed chief of ‘Derna Caliphate’

Oct 28, 2014: Libyan strife highlights the perils of even-handedness