Tuesday, September 23rd18.0°C
23284
23110

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.

The Canadian Press

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments on this story are pre-moderated and approval times may vary. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.



Read more World News




Recent Trending





23428

23358


23204



World Quick Links World Discussion Forum
United Nations
World Health Organization
UNESCO
World Trade Organization
NATO
European Union
The Commonwealth
Francophonie
Olympics
Google Earth


Member of BC Press Council


22814