Oil production at the El Feel oil field was brought back online today, after it was shut down temporarily yesterday due to clashes between GNA and LNA forces, including LNA airstrikes. After LNA forces took back full control over the field, the National Oil Corporation announced production was back online. According to the NOC, no employees were harmed. Although the facilities sustained minor damage, conditions were deemed safe to resume production.
NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla issued a warning to the warring sides, noting, "Any fighting in the vicinity of any of our facilities forces us to cease production, in order to ensure the safety of our employees. When production ceases, all Libyans lose out."
Fighting at the El Feel oil field in southwest Libya forced a shutdown of the production facilities earlier today. The field, along with most of Libya's oil fields, have been under the control of Haftar and the Eastern-based LNA forces, but was temporarily seized by militias aligned with the Tripoli-based GNA. The 73,000 bpd oil field is operated by Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) along with the Italian ENI, who stopped output as fighting broke out in the area and one of the compounds was hit by LNA air strikes working to take back control over the area.
NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said that no one was hurt in the strikes, but "production will remain shuttered until military activity ceases and armed groups pull out". An LNA spokesman said Wednesday evening that the GNA fighters who took control of the field earlier that day had been expelled.
Haftar's LNA announced a no-fly zone over the weekend on Tripoli and the surrounding areas. No flights are allowed "without prior coordination with the General Command of the Armed Forces." The LNA spokesman noted the reason for this involved "developments in the military operations, and advancement of the army's forces into the capital."... "it is necessary to warn the aviation authority and all airlines companies using this area.... any suspicious target that threatens the safety of the people will be fired upon..."
The timing of the announcement is unclear, but may be connected to the shooting down of an Italian drone by LNA forces a few days prior. The Italian Ministry of Defense confirmed it lost a drone, and sid that it was conducting a migrant-related support operation, and conveyed the flight plan to Libyan authorities.
The Tripoli-based GNA, in response, said that any action threatening civil aviation and airports "amounts to crimes punishable under national and international law".
LNA forces reported they carried out air strikes in GNA-held Misrata earlier today, targeting a munitions depot and armoured vehicles delivered from Turkey. This, only hours after a biscuit factory was bombed in Tripoli killing 10, mostly foreign workers, in what the UN envoy to Libya said might be considered a war crime. The Tripoli government blames the LNA for this strike, which denies its involvement.
Fighting around Tripoli has stalemated in recent weeks, as both sides and their foreign backers, Turkey on the GNA side and the UAE and Egypt on the LNA side, have introduced attack drones and fighter jets (especially on the LNA side). The strikes on the ammunition depot were followed by further explosions, according to residents sharing pictures on social media. The LNA's spokesman said it was attacking Turkish supplied arms, something which Turkey denied, reiterating only its support for a "ceasefire in Libya and the continuation of efforts for a political resolution under the U.N.'s auspices as a topic of priority".
The strike on the factory is one of hundreds of drone attacks in recent months, some of which have killed and harmed innocent civilians. Salame, the UN envoy in Libya, said that the LNA, helped by the UAE, has conducted over 800 drone attacks, while the Tripoli government, backed by Turkey, has conducted around 240 such attacks. He blamed the escalation on the increasing involvement of foreigners and mercenaries.
The Tripoli based GNA authorities at Misrata airport seized a Libyan Airlines craft that was operating from LNA-held Benghazi's Benina airport. The plane flew into the main airport near Tripoli for maintenance. According to the airline's Benghazi spokesperson, this was the only Libyan Airlines plane operating out of eastern Benghazi. The seizure, he noted, is causing serious disruption as the plane operates three international flights daily from Benghazi.
The airplane was stopped by GNA authorities after the maintenance issues were concluded. An LNA spokesman warned that the craft must be returned or it could lead to "escalatory measures in their airspace".
The head of the Libyan National Struggle Front - LNSF - and cousin of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, rejects the International Criminal Court's demand to bring him to trial at the Hague. Saif al-Islam was held by a militia in Zintan, and released in 2017. He has not been seen in public since, but is believed to be in the Zintan area.
Saif al-Islam is wanted on war crimes charges for his role in trying to suppress the 2011 revolution against his father's regime. Libya's Tripoli government approved the ICC request to hand over Gaddafi to the court to face war crimes charges.
LNSF head, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, a cousin of Gaddafi, rejected the demand , indicating that the GNA's acquiescence to the ICC is no different than those Libyans who wanted NATO to attack Libya in 2011, constituting a betrayal of the country.
GNA Justice Minister Mohamed Lamloum, who heads the camp that insists on turning over Gaddafi, noted that the conditions for amnesty do not apply, since the accused has not sought to apologise, reconcile with the victims or get pardons from their relatives. Those defending Gaddafi described turning him over to the ICC as a "humiliation to the Libyan people" and that the ICC case is based on a political and not legal decision of the UN Security Council, and therefore is not valid. They added that Saif al-Islam did not hold any official position in the previous regime.
After having been closed for 2 months due to the conflict, Tripoli's international airport is set to resume operations. Libya's (GNA) transport minister Milad Maatoug announced this past week (Oct 29) at a press conference with UN envoy Ghassan Salame that the airport would reopen, but not fully resume operations.
The airport has been targeted by LNA air strikes and artillery fire throughout the fighting renewed since April. A rocket attack on September 1 on the airport wounded 4 people, forcing Libyan authorities to divert flights to Misrata airport.
LNA forces, in response, accused the GNA of using Mitiga airport for military purposes, specifically launching Turkish attack drones from the site.
Fighting continues in Libya with heavy clashes reported between GNA and LNA forces around Tripoli. The stalemate that has developed around the capital has led both sides to seek increased foreign involvement, making it deadlier than before.
According to Al-Jazeera, the heads of both parties seem to rule out any sort of compromise thus far. Pro-GNA militias are demanding a no-fly zone be imposed by the United Nations. One GNA fighter was convinced that without foreign air support, Haftar would lose quickly.
Haftar has said in the past he is willing to come to a political solution with the Tripoli government, but only once the various militias based there, and who back the GNA, leave. GNA officials, on the other hand, demand they too seek dialogue but only once Haftar pulls his forces out of the area.
The various international powers are expected to convene a conference meant to end the fighting by the end of 2019, including persuading foreign powers Turkey, the UAE and Egypt to roll back their support for the two sides, help de-escalate as well as work to end human trafficking and resume oil supplies.