ISIL-linked groups inch closer to Libya's largest oil port

BENGHAZI – Militants loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group in Libya have made advances towards the country's largest oil terminal, according to eyewitnesses and the Libyan army.

ISIL-affiliated militants on Monday night staged a military parade in the town of Noufliya, which lies some 60km from the eastern oil port of Sidra, local residents told The Anadolu Agency.

Photos emerged on social media outlets in Libya showing 4X4 vehicles – some bearing the ISIL's trademark black flag – entering the town.

Local residents said top ISIL militants from Libya had attended the parade.

Army spokesman Ibrahim al-Mismari, for his part, told reporters that "Dawn of Libya" militiamen – who remain in de facto control of capital Tripoli – had engaged in deadly clashes with ISIL militants near the town on Sunday.

"The clashes erupted after four [Dawn of Libya] militants attacked an ISIL checkpoint near Noufliya," he said.

For over two months, Libyan troops loyal to the Tobruk-based government have laid siege to the eastern city of Darnah.

Darnah is considered a stronghold of several militias, including ones that have sworn allegiance to the ISIL.

Libya has been dogged by political instability since the 2011 ouster and death of long-ruling strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

In the more than three years since, rival militias have frequently locked horns, often bringing violence to the country's main cities, especially Benghazi and capital Tripoli.

The sharp political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government in Tripoli and Tobruk, each of which has its own institutions.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency