11:39 pm - Tuesday November 3, 2015

Libya warns of ‘humanitarian disaster’ over fuel fire

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Libya has requested international assistance to put out a fire at a large fuel storage site in Tripoli that was hit by a rocket during militia clashes.

The huge blaze could cause a “humanitarian and environmental disaster,” the government has warned.

It is the largest facility in Tripoli, containing 6.6 million litres of fuel.

At least 97 people have been killed in fighting between rival militia groups battling for control of Tripoli’s main airport in the past week.

Fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi has also intensified, with at least 38 people killed in clashes between troops loyal to the Libyan government and Islamist fighters on Sunday.

A statement by the prime minister’s office said it had requested international assistance “as a precaution”.

“Several countries have expressed their willingness to send planes and a team of experts who specialise in putting out the flames,” it continues.

Residents within 3-5km (2-3 miles) of the area have been urged to evacuate, amid fears of a massive explosion if tanks are breached.

But evacuations could be difficult, warns the BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli, due to the precarious security situation.

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