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Rockets have been fired at the only functioning airport in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, Reuters reports, citing information from local residents and a statement from the political faction that controls the airport. The attack is the latest in a string of events signaling an escalation in the internal fights in Libya.
Earlier this week, armed men stormed the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation, killing two and injuring another ten employees. Three of the gunmen were also killed during the attack. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that, via its news agency. The attack, the statement said, aimed at the “economic interests of oppressing governments funding crusaders.” Reuters notes it is the first IS attack on the HQ of the Libyan state oil company.
The renewed violence once again threatens Libya’s fragile peace and its oil industry that has been struggling to recover from the attack on oil ports in June and a subsequent port blockade that reduced significantly Libyan oil shipments in June and July.
The escalation comes less than a week after a ceasefire was agreed by the factions fighting in Tripoli and just as a meeting between the Government of National Accord, faction leaders, and the UN Support Mission to Libya agreed on Sunday to uphold the ceasefire.
Now, Reuters reports, fights in Tripoli are intensifying, and after the attack on the airport, evidently spreading: Matiga airport is located in eastern Tripoli while fighting so far had been concentrated in the southern parts of the capital.
If fighting spreads to the oil fields, the production recovery will once again be disrupted with the expected impact on international oil prices, which are already supervolatile. As of the end of August, Libya was pumping around 1 million bpd—a major accomplishment just a month after production slumped to 664,000 bpd following a port blockade in the Oil Crescent.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.