Benghazi port in Libya reopens for first time in three years


The port was closed in 2014 after armed groups, including ISIL, occupied Libya's second city

Benghazi port in east Libya has reopened for the first time in three years after being forced to cease operations when armed groups, including ISIL, occupied the city.

These groups were expelled in July this year by the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar who is aligned with the Tobruk-based parliament, a rival administration to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

The Tobruk parliament has its own government led by Abdullah Al Thani, and it was this administration that inaugurated the port's reopening on Sunday. Mr Al Thani arrived at the port on board a cargo vessel accompanied by members of his cabinet.

"We thank God that justice has been victorious over injustice," Mr Al Thani said, referring to the ouster of the Islamist militias and "all those who claim that Benghazi is not secure".

"The docking of this cargo ship carrying medicines and food supplies … is a major challenge to the obscurantists who used it to bring weapons to the terrorists."

"Benghazi is a peaceful city, not a haven for terrorists from around the world as some people claim," Mr Al Thani added.

In a bid to boost business at the facility, port officials announced a temporary customs exemption for all imports through Benghazi.

Mr Al Thani's "provisional government" has not been recognised internationally since the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity was formed under a UN-sponsored agreement signed in 2015.