Libya's internationally recognized government in Tobruk has admitted to attacking a Turkish cargo ship. The incident claimed at least one life and left several others wounded.
The vessel was hit upon after it was told not to break a ban on approaching the eastern city of Dema, Libyan military spokesman Mohamed Hejazi told journalists.
"The air force called on it several times to turn back, but it failed to comply," the member of the recognized parliament in Tobruk told news agency AFP.
The Cook Islands-flagged cargo ship, owned by a Turkish company, was shelled from the Libyan coast as it travelled from Spain to Tobruk and then attacked from the air as it tried to flee the region on Monday, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
"We condemn strongly this contemptible attack which targeted a civilian ship in international waters and curse those who carried it out," the ministry said, adding that the government had registered a protest with Libya's officials. The ship was returning to Turkey, they said.
In January this year, Libyan warplanes supported by al-Thinni bombarded a Greece-operated tanker off Libya, killing two.
The country descended into chaos in 2011 after the demise of leader Muammar Ghaddafi and the end of a NATO military campaign. The instability gave rise to rebel factions which began fighting for dominance over Libya's oil resources.
Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said earlier this year that he would stop dealing with Ankara since it was sending weapons to an enemy faction. His internationally recognized government rules from Tobruk, after forces allied to the internationally recognized government were incapable in driving out rival groups from the original capital, Tripoli.
mg/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)