Report: Libyan War Planes Sink One Ship, Attack Another Suspected of Aiding Terrorists

REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
Washington, D.C.

War planes sank one ship and attacked a second vessel near Benghazi on behalf of Libya’s internationally recognized government, Reuters reports, quoting a military spokesman.

“The vessel was sunk because it had loaded fighters, weapons and ammunition to support terrorism in the eastern region,” reportedly said Nasser al-Hassi, an air force spokesman for Libya’s internationally recognized government, early on Monday.

“There was no independent confirmation for the strike near the town of Mareesa, the latest attack on ships in Libya where two governments and parliaments are fighting for control years after the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi,” notes Reuters.

Since losing the Libyan capital Tripoli to a rival group a year ago, the internationally recognized government has been based in the eastern part of the country. It has set up its own administration there.

Mohamed El Hejazi, a spokesman for top army commander of the recognized Libyan government Khalifa Haftar, said a second vessel that was carrying weapons in the same area had also been targeted.

“One boat was sunk, the other is burning,” a military official in Mareesa, located about 12 miles from Benghazi, told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The official pointed out that “the vessels were only small ships like fishing boats coming from western Libya, which is controlled by a rival government challenging the official administration based in the east since losing Tripoli a year ago,” reports Reuters.

“Tripoli-based state oil firm NOC has accused the eastern government of having three times bombed oil tankers that the eastern forces had said carried weapons and ammunition,” it adds.

The two governments fighting for control of Libya have used air power to attack each other in the past.

Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists have been able to establish a foothold in Libya amid the chaos there.