U.N.-recognised government of Libya says its forces reach Al Sharara oil field

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FILE PHOTO: A general view shows Libya's El Sharara oilfield December 3, 2014. Deep in Libya's southern Sahara, men in army uniforms guard a pipeline at the El Sharara oilfield. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows Libya’s El Sharara oilfield December 3, 2014. Deep in Libya’s southern Sahara, men in army uniforms guard a pipeline at the El Sharara oilfield. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny/File Photo

Forces belonging to the internationally-recognized government of Libya reached the Al-Sharara oil field on Sunday, a Tripoli-based government source said.

The North African nation’s biggest field is a focus of the conflict between the Tripoli-based government and a rival administration based in eastern Libya.

Earlier this week, the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in fractured Libya’s east, claimed they had seized control of the Al-Sharara field as part of an expansion of control over Libya’s oil revenues.

The Al-Sharara field has been closed by the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) since December, after it was seized by local tribes demanding the Tripoli government did more to support the area and lift it out of poverty.

In a separate incident, an eastern Libyan military plane intercepted on Sunday a civilian plane after it took off from the El Feel oilfield, forcing it to land in the southern region of Sebha, said a source from the eastern-based armed forces.

Both fields are located in southern Libya.