July 19, 2015 / 10:39 PM / 2 years ago

Libyan war plane sinks vessel near Benghazi port: eastern army spokesman

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - A Libyan war plane on Sunday attacked and sank a vessel near the eastern city of Benghazi, a spokesman for the air force allied to the country’s internationally recognized government said.

There was no eyewitness report or independent confirmation for the strike near the town of Mareesa that was also reported by the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television network.

“The vessel was sunk because it had loaded fighters, weapons and ammunition to support terrorism in the eastern region,” air force spokesman Nasser al-Hassi said on Monday.

A Reuters reporter had heard during the day war planes circling above Benghazi, some 20 km away from Mareesa.

Tripoli-based state oil firm NOC has accused the eastern government of having three times bombed oil tankers which the eastern forces had said carried weapons and ammunition.

Libya is in chaos with two governments and parliaments with their own armed forces fighting for control four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

The official government is based in the east since losing the capital a year ago to a rival group, which set up its own administration. Both have attacked each other with war planes.

In May, aircraft from Libya’s recognized government attacked an oil tanker docked outside the central city of Sirte, wounding three people and setting the ship on fire.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Mostafa Hashem and Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Eric Walsh and Andrea Ricci

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