Suspected Daesh terrorists have attacked a plant near a major oil field in eastern Libya but have been pushed back by security forces, witnesses say.
According to an oil field guard, whose name was not mentioned in the reports, the militants on Monday raided a power and water plant about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Sarir oil field.
The assault, which was also confirmed by an engineer and a resident, began after security forces thwarted an attempted car bombing by killing the driver of the car. They later clashed with the assailants.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack; however, Takfiri Daesh terrorists have previously targeted Libya’s oil installations. Militant assaults on export terminals in the east of the country have increased over the last months.
Sarir is a strategic area in eastern Libya as over half of the country’s current oil production comes from the region.
Libya has been grappling with violence and political uncertainty since its former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and later killed in 2011 amid NATO airstrikes.
Daesh took advantage of the chaos and captured Libya’s northern port city of Sirte in June 2015, almost four months after it announced its presence in the city.
As chaos drags on in the North African country, its oil production has plummeted to less than a quarter of the levels before the fall of Gaddafi.
Daesh has inflicted heavy damage on Libya’s oil infrastructure, but has so far been unable to take over facilities and sell oil illegally.
The UN Security Council said in a recent report that the terror group has “significantly” strengthened its foothold in Libya, voicing alarm about its attacks against Libyan oil installations as well as the massacre of Libyans.
While Daesh “does not currently generate direct revenue from the exploitation of oil in Libya, its attacks against oil installations seriously compromise the country’s economic stability,” the report said.