Action – 9 March 2015

Mar 9, 2015 | ISIS

Between eight to eleven members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) were killed in an attack on Al-Ghani field on 4 March while nine foreigners were kidnapped. According to the NOC the foreigners include a Czech, an Austrian, a Ghanaian, as well as Bangladeshis and Filipinos. As in the attacks on the other fields, the PFG could not fend off the attackers and were forced to retreat. The fields were also looted, destroyed and equipment rendered inoperable during the attacks. Indeed, according to one local source, the group in the Al-Ghani raid went straight to the control room in a bid to do damage and make the field unworkable.

Blame for the attacks is being placed squarely on IS. Oil Minister in the National Salvation Government in Tripoli, Mashallah Zwai, told the media that militants swept down from Sirte to attack the Dhahra field, trading fire with guards and blowing up residential and administrative buildings before retreating. Unconfirmed assertions by one military official that eight of the PFG at the Al-Ghani field were beheaded by the attackers seemed to confirm that IS was behind the attacks. The capturing of the foreign workers gave further credence to the belief that IS was responsible.

Notably, however, IS has not claimed responsibility for the assaults, prompting suggestions in some quarters that Operation Libya Dawn may have been behind the attacks instead. Indeed given that IS is in need of finance, one would have thought that if the attacks were the work of IS they would have refrained from destroying equipment and would have taken over the fields instead. Some Libyan analysts therefore are speculating that the attacks could have been the work of Operation Libya Dawn in a bid to prevent their opponents in the east from being able to control the fields.