Fighters from Fajr Libya, an anti-government Islamist coalition, staged an assault on the region of Al-Hilal from three sides but the air force repelled them, said Brigadier General Saqr Jarushi.
“Air force jets and helicopters struck the fighters as they advanced on Al-Sidra oil terminal,” he said, adding that the air raids had caused “a large number of casualties”.
Earlier a statement from Fajr Libya said the Islamist coalition had launched a military operation to “liberate oil fields and terminals”.
A “state of emergency” was declared in the region, added Jarushi, who is part of anti-Islamist forces led by ex-general Khalifa Haftar battling for control of the capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.
Ibrahim al-Jadran, who heads a government unit in charge of guarding Libya’s oil installations, said troops were still facing “some pockets of resistance”.