A Libyan fighter jet has targeted a ship anchored in the Libyan port of Darna, killing two crew members, officials said on Monday. The UN peace talks have been postponed yet again, amid escalating violence. DW
The Libyan air force attacked the oil tanker “after the crew refused to heed orders to stop for a search operation,” Libyan government spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mesmari said on Monday. He also described the Greek-owned tanker Araevo as “suspicious,” as reported by the AFP news agency.
Two crew members – a Greek and a Romanian national – were killed and two more were injured in the Sunday airstike. The ship, which was anchored in the eastern port-city of Darna, had 26 crew members on board, and was sailing under a Liberian flag.
Darna is a stronghold for Islamic militants who have sworn allegiance to the “Islamic State.” The rebels dispute the authority of the internationally recognized Libyan government.
France needs a ‘clear mandate’
The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said the ship was carrying 12,600 metric tons of fuel, however, Athens-based Aegean Shipping Enterprises Co, which operates the ship, claims no oil was spilled.
“There is no oil leakage, the ship’s integrity was not compromised. Damages are being assessed,” said Elias Syrros, the company’s safety manager.
The Greek ministry strongly condemned the attack, calling for the perpetrators to be identified and punished, and demanding compensation for the families of the victims.
Violence in Libya has gone up in recent months, and the country’s neighbors have repeatedly called for an international intervention.
French President Francois Hollande also urged international involvement on Monday, while making it clear that France would not act unilaterally in Libya.
“We are acting to contain terrorism in the south, but France will not intervene in Libya because it’s for the international community to live up to its responsibilities,” Hollande told French radio.
Asked if France would act in Libya under a United Nations mandate, Hollande said that a “clear mandate,” “clear organization” and the “political conditions” would have to be in place.
“We’re not yet going down that road,” he added.
Arab League to meet
A new round of the United Nations peace talks between Libyan armed groups, scheduled for Monday, has been postponed without a new date.
The talks had originally been planned for December 9, 2014, however, an escalation in fighting between the troops loyal to the government and the Islamic rebels has caused repeated delays. The internationally recognized parliament decided last week that it would not attend any negotiations if the rival legislature was invited.
Arab League ambassadors are set to meet in Cairo later on Monday to talk about developments in Libya, at the request of the Libya’s official government.
Libya has been troubled by militia violence since the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, but the United Nations says hundreds of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands more displaced since fighting intensified in May 2014.
dj/nm (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)