By Libya Herald Reporters.
Tripoli and Benghazi, 13 December 2014:
A senior Libyan National Army commander has said that Misratan-led forces are committing . . .[restrict]“collective suicide” as they attack from Sirte towards Es Sider, the first of the key eastern oil export terminals.
Brigadier Saqr Adam Geroushi, Air Force Commander gave the warning this morning as a major battle was building up around Beni Jawad, on the coastal road 150 kilometres east of Sirte. Misratan-led Libya Dawn forces attacking towards the eastern oil terminal of Es Sider. They have been met by members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard and units of the Libyan National Army.
Libya Dawn sources have claimed that they are now only four kilometres from Es Sider.
So far there has been at least one air raid on Ghardabiya Air Base, which also doubles as Sirte’s civilian airport. Government sources have said that the attack was aimed at a weapons’ store. It is unclear if the target was hit. Reuters has also reported air raids near Es Sider and its the nighbouring export terminal at Ras Lanuf.
Pictures put up on social media show parts of a convoy said to be made up of at least 300 vehicles. Another posting claims to give a breakdown of the Libya Dawn forces that are involved in the assault.
According to this, the main component appears to be the Misrata Third Force, which was withdrawn last week from Sebha. Beside Ansar Al-Sharia’s Al-Farouq brigade, which is based on the outskirts of Sirte, the UN-sanctioned organisation is also contributing the Al-Nawfiliya and Al-Khaleej Martyrs’ brigades and fighters who have fled the fighting in Benghazi.
The list also includes “tribal fighters from Misrata led by Ismail Al-Sallabi, leader of the Benghazi Rafallah Al-Sahati Brigade” as well as the Al-Halbous and Al-A’aifa Brigades and fighters from Tajoura, Ghariyan and Zuwara.
There are reports that casualties have been heavy and a steady flow of injured has been arriving at Ibn Sina hospital in Sirte. This hospital has been struggling to function since its mainly Filipino staff returned to the Philippines this August.