Libyan war planes sink vessel near Benghazi port

Libyan rival House of Representatives military spokesman says its war planes sank ship, attacked second vessel near Benghazi port

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Libyan war planes, belonging to the rival House of Representatives (HoR) administration based in Tobruk,  have reportedly sunk a ship and attacked a second vessel near the Benghazi port on Sunday, according to a military spokesman.

"The vessel was sunk because it had loaded fighters, weapons and ammunition to support terrorism in the eastern region," Nasser al Hassi, air force spokesman said.

Spokesman for Khalifa Hafter of the HoR government claimed that the strike targeted the second vessel as it was also allegedly carrying weapons.

Oil firm NOC based in the Tripoli General National Council administration (GNC) has accused the rival HoR government of having bombed their oil tankers three times previously, which the HoR says was carrying weapons and ammunition.

In January, Greece complained about the bombing of one of its vessels near the Libyan coast, leaving two crewman dead.

Libya’s Tobruk government said the vessel was carrying weapons, while Greece claimed it was merely carrying fuel.

Forces loyal to Khalifa Hafter also shelled, then conducted air strikes on a Turkish flagged vessel, Tuna-1, on May 10, killing the third officer aboard the vessel. The vessel also reported that some crew members were wounded in the attack.

The ship was chartered to the Cook Islands and was in international waters 13 miles (21 km) off the Tobruk coast when it was attacked by forces loyal to General Hafter’s Tobruk government.

Turkish crime scene investigators have determined that damage to the vessel was caused by artillery shells and a fire resulting from the shelling.

Libya is currently divided into two parliaments with their own armed forces, the General National Council (GNC) in the capital of Tripoli, which was founded with the help of the United States and France following the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives, which has been operating from the Egyptian border town of Tobruk since June, was formed following armed uprisings by groups loyal to the renegade general Khalifa Hafter.

TRTWorld and agencies