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Militants take control of oil fields in central Libya

Two oil fields east of Tripoli have been seized by militants, Libyan official says
Libya currently has two rival governments and parliaments - those recognised by the international community sitting in the far east of the country and the others in the capital (AFP)

Libyan militants seized two oil fields east of Tripoli on Tuesday, a spokesman for Libya's oil industry security service said.

"Extremists took control of the al-Bahi and al-Mabrouk fields and are now heading to seize the al-Dahra field following the retreat of the force guarding these sites, due to lack of ammunition," Colonel Ali al-Hassi said, according to AFP.

Earlier Tuesday, al-Hassi said that militia warplanes had attacked the major export terminal at al-Sidra but were driven off without hitting their targets.

Al-Hassi said it was still difficult to assess damage and fighting was continuing, Reuters reported.

In response, planes from the internationally recognised air force struck Tripoli's militia-controlled Mitiga airport without causing any casualties, said the head of the recognised government's air force.

Violence and a slow-down at export terminals had already forced a shutdown at the al-Bahi and al-Mabrouk fields, about 310 miles (500 kilometres) east of Tripoli, for the last several weeks.

Fighters pledging loyalty to Islamic State were blamed for attacks last month on an oilfield and pipeline in Libya.

An attack on the sites in February killed 11 people and all staff were evacuated.

Also last month, gunmen killed some 12 people south of Sirte after storming a remote oilfield, according to Reuters. Most of the victims were beheaded or shot, officials said.

Libya has been awash with weapons since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi, and opposing militias have since been battling for control of its cities and oil wealth.

It has two rival governments and parliaments - those recognised by the international community sitting in the far east of the country and the others in the capital.

A national dialogue between the warring parliaments is set to resume in Morocco on Thursday, according to Libyan politicians involved in the talks.

In recent days, the UN Special Envoy to Libya Benardino Leon has shuttled between representatives of both parliaments in an attempt to jump-start talks. 

While the House of Representatives (HoR) has agreed to return to the dialogue, the body reportedly made several conditions for its return. The HoR has demanded that the international community accept that it is Libya's only legitimate parliament and acknowledge that the Libyan army is fighting terrorism, and that HoR has final say over any unity government that emerges from the dialogue, the Libya Herald reported.