Libya’s recognized government conducted air strikes against rival government forces trying to seize major oil ports in the east and against targets in the west on Monday, witnesses said.
Libya has had two governments and parliaments since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli in August. The recognized prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, was forced to withdraw to the east.
Both sides are allied to brigades which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and now vie for political power and a share of the vast oil reserves in a conflict Western powers fear might tear apart the North African country.
A force allied to the Tripoli-based rival government, who opponents say has links to Islamists, launched an offensive on Saturday to take eastern Libyan oil facilities.
A force loyal to Thinni flew air strikes against those rival government troops, located some 40 km (25 miles) from Es Sider oil port, its air force commander Saqer al-Joroushi said. The Tripoli-based government said its troops controlled all roads leading to the country’s biggest oil port.
Some 800 km (500 miles) to the west, an air strike also targeted the town of Zuwara near the border to Tunisia, witnesses said. But the rival government kept control of the main crossing in Ras Jdir.