Libyan tribes meet in Cairo

26 May 2015

Oil tanker bombed near port city of Sirte

  • More than 150 tribal leaders are attending the conference
  • Summit will last for three days
  • Tanker bombed by Libya’s Tobruk-based government on 24 May

More than 150 Libyan tribal leaders are meeting in Cairo in order to try and find a solution to the ongoing turmoil in the North African country.

The first day of the conference was 25 May and the meeting is expected to last for three days.

The meeting is not officially part of the UN-mediated peace process, but representatives from the UN have been invited to the meeting along with representatives from the Arab League.

Libya is currently seeing clashes between forces loyal to the country’s two rival governments.

The House of Representatives is based in the eastern city of Tobruk, while an Islamist-led government supported by the Libya Dawn militia coalition holds sway in the capital city of Tripoli.

Adding an extra dimension to the conflict, the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) has rapidly expanded in Libya since November 2014, claiming territory in the cities of Derna, Benghazi and Sirte.

On 24 May, forces loyal to the Tobruk-based government bombed an oil tanker that was near the port city of Sirte.

The attack is the third strike on an oil tanker in Libyan waters by the House of Representatives as part of the conflict between the two competing administrations.

“Our jets warned an unflagged ship off Sirte city, but it ignored the warning,” Saqer al-Joroushi, the eastern air force commander, told UK-based news agency Reuters.

“We gave it a chance to evaluate the situation, then our fighting jets attacked the ship because it was unloading fighters and weapons….The ship is now on fire. We are in war and we do not accept any security breaches, whether by land, air or sea.”

Sources connected to the state-owned National Oil Company (NOC) said the tanker was carrying gasoil for a power station in Sirte.

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