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Oil storage depot hit near Tripoli

Once-major producer continues to slip.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   July 28, 2014 at 7:58 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, July 28 (UPI) -- The Libyan government said Monday it needed outside help to control new clashes in the capital, near where several oil storage tankers were hit by rocket fire.

The severity of new clashes in Libya prompted the U.S. State Department to suspend diplomatic activities at its embassy in the Libyan capital. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the precautionary move was made in response to the "free-wheeling militia violence that is taking place in Tripoli."

The Libyan government said Monday it needed outside help to stem the violence in the country. The National Oil Corp. said, meanwhile, it abandoned efforts to control a blaze at a storage depot hit by rocket fire last weekend.

The government said the oil blaze could turn into a "humanitarian and environmental disaster."

Libya was once one of the top oil producers in North Africa, though oil exports and production have faltered since the fall of the regime of Moammar Gadhafi near the end of civil war in 2011.

A deal brokered between the central government in Tripoli and eastern rebels vying for more autonomy prompted interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani to declare in early July that the oil crisis over.

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