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The New Arab

Stop IS spreading in Libya warns top US official

Libyan workers try to extinguish flames after IS set ablaze an oil facility [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 January, 2016

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A US general has called for urgent military action in Libya to stop IS spreading after the militant group set fire to one of the country's main oil terminals.
Urgent military action is needed to stop the spread of the Islamic State group in Libya, warned US Marine General Joseph Dunford on Friday.

His comments come a day after IS militants attacked and tried to take over one of Libya's main oil terminals at the coastal Ras Lanuf facility.

Dunford called regional allies to support the build up of local forces in Libya against IS.

"You want to take decisive military action to check IS's expansion and at the same time you want to do it in such a way that's supportive of a long-term political process," Dunford told reporters on Friday.

Earlier this month, four oil storage tanks were set ablaze by IS militants during deadly fighting in al-Sidra and Ras Lanuf, as the extremist group continued its efforts to seize export terminals.

IS's affiliate in Libya, which controls the central city of Sirte has destroyed at least a dozen oil tanks in similar attacks.

Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 ousting and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

It has had rival administrations since August 2014 when an Islamist-backed militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the government to take refuge in the eastern city of Tobruk.

The UN is pressing both sides to accept a power-sharing agreement that it hopes will help to reverse IS's territorial gains.

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