Oil Depot Catches Fire As Libya Battles Rage
Tripoli’s main fuel depot has been set ablaze after rockets fired by one of Libya’s armed groups struck and ignited a tank, the National Oil company (NOC) said.
Black plumes of smoke rose over the fuel tanks, which store oil for use in the capital and are located near Tripoli’s international airport.
Firefighters deployed to tackle the blaze were forced back by the fighting, NOC spokesman Mohamed al-Harari said on Saturday.
Libya’s newly elected parliament held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the dire security situation threatening to tear the country apart.
The House of Representatives, elected in May, gathered in an attempt to set a political framework, and guide Libya out of the pit of violence that has raged for weeks in certain parts of the country. The assembly’s first official session is scheduled for August 4.
“We want to speed up the handing over of process, because Libya cannot wait much longer,” said Jalal al-Shwehdi, an MP said.
Meanwhile, a Greek navy frigate carrying embassy staff and nearly 200 people from Greece, China and other countries evacuated from the conflict in Libya returned early on Saturday to a port near Athens.
Passengers on the frigate Salamis described a deteriorating security situation in the Libyan capital Tripoli, with frequent power and water cuts.
The Greek Defense Ministry the ship transported 77 people from Greece, 78 from China, 10 from Britain, seven from Belgium, one each from Russia and Albania.
The Greek evacuation followed similar action by a number of European countries, as fighting between rival militias in recent weeks.
Poland’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it has evacuated two dozen Poles and citizens of two other countries.All of Poland’s diplomats have now left the country.
Britain says it will suspend work at its consulate in Tripoli once it has completed assisting the departure of British nationals.
Constantine Koutras, a spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry, said moving embassy staff to the port was the most difficult part of the operation.
“In places like this and in these kinds of situations there is a very small difference between things going well and going very, very badly,” he said on state TV.