Mohammed Abdul Kafi (C), first lieutenant and spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of Libya, speaks during a press conference in the capital Tripoli on October 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD TURKIA
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When ISIS militants attacked a perimeter gate guarding Libya's Es Sider oil terminal this month, they sent gunmen to kill guards before attempting to detonate a car bomb in a bid to breach the port's defenses.The assault failed to get closer than 1.6 kilometers from one of Libya's major oil ports, but it signaled ISIS' intent to expand beyond their base in the city of Sirte and target the OPEC state's oil infrastructure.Four years after the fall of leader Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is in a conflict with two rival governments each backed by competing armed factions, creating a power vacuum that has allowed ISIS to establish a foothold in North Africa.It was not the first ISIS attack on Libyan oil. In Libya, though, ISIS is still consolidating.Zintan forces deny any talks with Tripoli's government, saying the fields were closed as a precaution by oil guards after recent Islamist attacks on southern fields.Early last year, federalist forces commanded by Ibrahim al-Jathran ended months of blockades of the four major oil ports, including Es Sider, which his forces control, after threatening to bypass the government and sell oil himself.
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