By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 16 December 2014:
Libya Dawn is believed to have used a “crop dusting” aircraft today to launch its first . . .[restrict]airstrike on Libyan National Army forces defending the Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf oil export terminals.
The aircraft took of from Sirte and apparently flew low to avoid ground fire. Two bombs were dropped, seemingly by hand, on ground some distance away from Es Sidra where they exploded causing no casualties nor damage. Libya Dawn is saying that the aircraft returned safely to Sirte, while one LNA source claimed that it was shot down. An LNA spokesman Ali Al-Hassi however told the French news agency AFP that the aircraft had fired missiles but been driven off by anti-aircraft fire.
In the course of fighting today, the refinery at Ras Lanuf was hit by at least one Grad rocket. A worker at the plant, which is owned by LERCO, a National Oil Corporation joint venture with an Abu Dhabi investor, is reported to have said that only slight damage was caused to the installation.
There is little confirmed detail on the fighting in the last 24 hours. A spokesman for army Chief of Staff Ahmed Al-Mismari said that LNA forces, supported by air strikes had driven Libya Dawn units back to the west of Bin Jawad, which has been the main battlefield for the last three days. He also said that warplanes had targeted a convoy of trucks.
Meanwhile it is being reported by the Tripoli-based LANA news agency that a column of 70 vehicles today left for the south to intervene in fighting that is continuing between Tebu and Tuareg tribesmen in Obari.
It was only last week that the Misratan Third Force withdrew units from Sebha, it is now assumed in preparation for the attack on the eastern oil terminals. A small contingent seems to have been left in the town to support the Tuareg and Misratan forces which last month seized the nearby Sharara oilfield.
However since then the Tebu, who are supportive of the government and the House of Representatives, have launched a major assault on the Tuareg-held Tendi mountain near Obari.