Heavy air raids as PFG chief says LNA trying to hit oil facilities
By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 12 March 2017:
There are reports of heavy airstrikes tonight on a range of Benghazi Defence Brigades’ positions from the front line at Al Uqaylah to Ben Jawad in the west. An LNA source claimed that they were the largest raids yet mounted by the air force. He declined to comment on reports that the airstrikes are being followed up by an assault by ground forces.
Meanwhile Petroleum Facilities Guard commander Idris Bukhamada has said that the LNA is deliberately targeting oil infrastructure at the export terminals. Senior LNA commanders have denied this is happening.
Bukhamada’s men reportedly took over the Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil terminals five days ago from the victorious BDB. The operation was designed to free the BDB and their commander Mustafa Sharksi to continue with their promised push to Benghazi.
On social media the BDB has noted the increased intensity of the air strikes and claimed that they are being delivered by the Egyptian air force. The BDB has also produced its Statement Number 19 which it said is to clarifiy its goals.
It said all BDB members were from Benghazi and had led the 17 February Revolution in the city. “We have no party, political or ideological affiliations. Our goal is the return of our people to their homes from which they were expelled unjustly.”
The BDB said that its goal was primarily humanitarian, to stop the suffering of tens of thousands of displaced families and to end what it described as the terrorism against civilians in Benghazi.
It pledged that it would not ignite a civil war and insisted that it supported “social and political” solutions to win justice and security “and stop crime in our city Benghazi.” It would fight terrorism in all its forms and not allow Benghazi to become a terrorist haven. It said it would also not allow any acts of revenge but advocated peace and security.
Separately the BDB has denied reports from the east that it beheaded two LNA sergeants captured in the attack on Ras Lanuf. Muhammad Oweidat and Imad Zlitni of the 131 Infantry Battalion are supposed to have been executed and the killings recorded. But no pictures appear to have emerged.
Meanwhile today the siege of the last two sections of the 12 Apartments complex continued with another LNA soldier being killed, reportedly by a sniper, while three people from the complex were gunned down as they tried to escape. There are still supposed to be families, prisoners and some sub-Saharan workers in the remaining positions.
Late this evening the sound of heavy artillery and rocket fire could be heard coming from Sabri, now the main area of Benghazi that is still held by members of the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council and their terrorist allies from IS and Ansar Al-Sharia.