Hundreds of pro-government fighters gathered in the coastal town of Sirte on Wednesday and were poised to attack rebels controlling oil installations in an attempt to end a months-long stand-off that has more than halved Libya’s energy production.

The parliament and ministry of defence created a military operations room in Sirte to co-ordinate the attack after pro-government militiamen from around the country wrested control of the airport from eastern rebels loyal to Ibrahim Jadran, a former petroleum facilities commander. The militias captured some rebels and pushed the bulk of their forces further east along the coastal highway, said a former Sirte fighter who is now a town elder.

The fighting shook the once-prosperous town, which used to be the home town of former ruler Muammer Gaddafi. It was largely destroyed in fighting in 2011 during which he was captured and killed. […]