37522
32838

World  

Oil depot catches fire

A fire at the oil depot for the airport in Libya's capital raged out of control Monday after being struck in the crossfire of warring militias battling for control of the airfield, the latest violence to plague the country as foreigners flee the chaos.

Libya's interim government said in a statement posted that the fire could trigger a "humanitarian and environmental disaster" in Tripoli, appealing for "international help" to extinguish the inferno. It did not say what it specifically needed.

The blaze had spread to a second depot by Monday afternoon, the government said. It was unclear if there were any injuries from the fire.

"The government appeals to all concerned parties to immediately stop firing as the situation has become very grave," the government said.

Libyan television stations called on residents to evacuate areas within a 5-kilometre (3-mile) radius of the airport. Many Libyan families scrambled to leave. Black smoke billowed over the Tripoli skyline.

Mohammed al-Harari, the spokesman for the Libyan National Oil Company, said the oil depot had a capacity of 6 million litres (1.6 million gallons) and that if the fire was not brought under control, it could ignite liquid gas nearby.

Fire trucks from several nearby cities and towns have been deployed to help extinguish the blaze, said a Libyan security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to journalists.

The battle for control of the airport began two weeks ago when Islamist-led militias — mostly from the western city of Misrata — launched a surprise assault on the airport, which has been under control of a rival militia from the western mountain town of Zintan. It wasn't clear whose fire started the oil depot blaze.

The Health Ministry said Sunday that the fighting has so far killed 79 people and wounded more than 400.

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.



More World News

World
London Webcam
Webcam provided by webcams.travel
36599
Recent Trending
36875
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
37331



34908
34523