Libya’s Tobruk-based government has called for international assistance in combatting the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis), saying that oilfields near the coastal town of Sirte are at risk of attack.

On 30 May, the government issued an online statement calling on the international community to “supply arms to its forces to fight Isis plans to seize oil fields to fund its operations… the government is doing everything to retake the town of Sirte and its airport from terrorist hands”.

The statement comes after Isis took control of Sirte’s civilian airport on 28 May.

Isis has rapidly expanded in Libya since first appearing in November 2014.

It now controls territory in the cities of Derna, Benghazi and Sirte and has carried out attacks in the capital city, Tripoli.

The jihadist group has taken advantage of the chaos created by the ongoing battle between militias loyal to the country’s two rival governments.

Currently, the elected government is based in the eastern city of Tobruk, while an Islamist-led government holds sway in Tripoli.

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