By Khalid Mahmoud
UK ambassador to Libya, Frank Baker, hinted on Wednesday that the UN Security Council might impose punitive measures against Ibrahim al-Jathran.
Jathran is the commander of the armed militias that attacked the Crescent oil region, revealing that UK is contacting members of the Security Council in this regard.
Meanwhile, Libyan National Army (LNA) continues to mobilize its forces in preparation for a military operation, as high-ranking military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army is very close to regaining control over the region.
The British Ambassador said Britain is discussing with the international community about taking joint action to help Libya on recent clashes in the oil crescent region. He made his remarks following a meeting with Chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) Mustafa Sanalla.
“We are discussing with our international partners, including our friends in the (UN) Security Council, actions that we can take collectively to help Libya in this matter,” he asserted.
Baker implicitly described Jathran as a terrorist saying: “These are resources that belong to all Libyan people, and they are being destroyed by a terrorist leader and a number of people around him, including foreign nationals.”
In the meantime, Jathran continued his attack on Command General of Libyan Armed Forces Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, accusing him of trying to control the government in Libya and using its resources for the benefit of certain countries supporting him. He also accused the army of bombing the Crescent area with an explosive barrel and targeting oil tanks.
Jathran renewed his invitation to the Libyan Oil Corporation to operate in the oil crescent area, provided that his militias secure it.
In turn, oil installation guards service, led by Jathran, called upon the Libyan Red Crescent to receive a number of captives of the army, claiming that they surrendered themselves to the service.
In a brief statement, the guards service confirmed that the prisoners are being treated well and the “Red Crescent has to communicate to receive them officially.”
The statement indicated that this is the second batch of prisoners released.
Ras Lanuf company for oil and gas announced that the fire was extinguished in the reservoir of the al-Hurouj company, after the collapse of reservoir No. 12.
Ras Lanuf’s storage tank No. 2 was set on fire on Sunday, three days after another storage tank, No. 12 caught ablaze during an attack by an armed group.
Libya’s oil output has been slashed between 600,000 and 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) from more than one million following clashes at its Ras Lanuf and Es Sider oil terminals, a Libyan oil source said on Wednesday.
The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is looking at options to divert some oil exports from Ras Lanuf to Brega and Zueitina terminals, the source said.
Ras Lanuf and Es Sider have been closed since June 14, when armed factions opposed to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) attacked the two ports, forcing the NOC to close them and declare force majeure on exports.
The LNA has said it is preparing a counter offensive to take back Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, launching a series of air strikes against their rivals in the area.
US Africa Command denied reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from an operation done in coordination with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA).
The statement explained that US forces conducted a precision airstrike near Bani Walid, Libya, on June 6, killing four ISIS militants, as previously released.
It asserted: “US Africa Command performed a thorough review and determined the allegations of civilian casualties to be not credible.”
As with any allegation of civilian casualties, US Africa Command reviewed all available relevant information concerning the incident.
“The command complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions to minimize civilian casualties and other collateral damage,” concluded the statement.
Meanwhile, four members of security forces loyal to Libya’s eastern-based commander Haftar have been killed in Derna after an attacker drove his booby-trapped vehicle toward a group of soldiers.
LNA spokesman, Ahmed al-Mismari, said the assailant was bearing a white flag as he drove toward the troops on Wednesday.
He added that the white Chevrolet approached the troops in central Derna and asked to leave the combat zone, but the bomber set off explosives packed into the vehicle when he got close.