Libyan rebels occupying oil ports clashed with troops on Saturday after attacking an army base where reinforcements were preparing for an offensive to break the blockade, local residents said.

Anti-aircraft gunfire and explosions were heard late at night and again after dawn on Saturday in Ajdabiya, the hometown of rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran, whose fighters seized three ports in summer to demand a greater share in Libya’s oil wealth.

Fighting broke out just hours before the return to Libya of an oil tanker seized on Sunday by U.S. commandos in the Mediterranean after it had loaded crude at one of the ports Jathran’s men have occupied. […]