Libya warplanes bomb ship near the city of Sirte

Military says the ship was unloading fighters and weapons, while oil officials say it was an oil tanker.

    Libya's air force chief said the oil tanker ignored a warning before it was attacked [AFP]
    Libya's air force chief said the oil tanker ignored a warning before it was attacked [AFP]

    Warplanes from Libya's UN-recognised government have attacked an oil tanker off the coast near the city of Sirte, wounding at least two people, officials said.

    "Our jets warned an unflagged ship off Sirte city, but it ignored the warning," Saqer al-Joroushi, the head of Libya's air force, told the Reuters news agency on Sunday.

    "We gave it a chance to evaluate the situation, then our fighting jets attacked the ship because it was unloading fighters and weapons," he added.

    "The ship now is on fire. We are in war and we do not accept any security breaches, whether by land, air or sea," Jourushi added.

    An oil industry official said the ship was actually a tanker which had been carrying 25,000 tonnes of gas oil. He named the tanker as Anwar Afriqya.

    Rida Essa, commander of coastal guards in central Libya, said the tanker had been unloading gas oil for Sirte's power plant when it came under attack. The ship was still on fire, he said.

    He said a crew member and a port worker had been wounded.

    Libya is still in the midst of a power struggle between two governments fighting for control, with the internationally recognised government operating out of the east since losing control of the capital in August to the rival grouping.

    Sirte's power plant on the western outskirts of the city is controlled by forces loyal to the rival government in Tripoli.

    The rest of the city has fallen into the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) fighters which have exploited the chaos and security vacuum in Libya four years after the ousting of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.