Libya’s National Oil Corporation has asked Libyans of all stripes to join forces against ISIS after the terrorist group attacked the country’s largest oil ports.
According to Retuers, four storage tanks at the Es Sider port and one storage tank at the Ras Lanuf port are still on fire after ISIS launched rocket attacks on the ports earlier this week.
At least nine guards were killed and more than 40 wounded on Monday and Tuesday while defending the installations, Reuters said.
Mohamed al-Manfi, an oil official in eastern Libya, told the news wire that each tank holds an estimated 420,000 to 460,000 barrels of oil.
The ports have been closed since December 2014 amid fighting between rival government forces and groups affiliated with Islamic State.
According to Bloomberg, Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) issued a statement in response to the attacks, saying we “are helpless and not being able to do anything against this deliberate destruction to the oil installations.”
“National Oil Corporation urges all faithful and honorable people of this homeland to hurry to rescue what is left from our resources before it is too late,” the company added.
In a separate statement released on Wednesday, NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla condemned the attacks and asked Libyans to unit against the threat posed by ISIS.
“I hope this appalling violence will lead political leaders on all sides in Libya to understand the magnitude of the threat we face. I encourage them urgently to put aside their differences. We need to unite against this common enemy, not tomorrow or next week, but now,” Sanalla said.
Sanalla also called for the formation of “a national unity government and the establishment of a unified force structure capable of bringing peace to this country and protecting its natural resources.”
Two rival governments have been fighting for control of Libya since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.
The conflict has sent the country’s exports crashing down to about 400,000 barrels per day from a high of 1.6 billion barrels per day before the fighting began, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.