January 6, 2015 / 1:32 PM / in 3 years

Libya's official government bans Palestinians, Syrians and Sudanese from entry

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libya’s official government has banned Palestinians, Syrians and Sudanese from entry because their countries are undermining the oil producing nation’s security, the interior minister said.

The government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni runs only a rump state in eastern Libya after a rival group seized Tripoli in the summer, setting ups its own parliament and a government not recognized by world powers.

Thinni’s government would therefore only be able to enforce the ban at the eastern airports of Tobruk and Labraq and the land crossing with Egypt. The country’s crossing to Tunisia and airports in Misrata and Tripoli-Mitiga are out of its control.

“We’ve decided to ban nationals from Sudan, Syria and Palestine after the intelligence services and police established that some Arab countries are involved in undermining Libya’s security and sovereignty,” Thinni’s interior minister, Omar al-Sanki, told Reuters late on Monday.

Thinni’s main military partner, former army general Khalifa Haftar, has repeatedly accused Sudanese, Palestinians and Syrians of having joined Ansar al-Sharia and other Islamist groups which are battling pro-government forces in the eastern city of Benghazi.

In September, Thinni said Sudan had attempted to airlift weapons and ammunition to the new Tripoli rulers. Khartoum denied this, saying the weapons were meant for a joint border force under a bilateral agreement.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Giles Elgood

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