By The Daily Star

TRIPOLI: Libya's landline phone system broke down in much of the country after unknown people damaged submarine cables in an area held by ISIS, officials said Wednesday, in another sign of state collapse.

Libya is in chaos with two governments allied to armed groups fighting for control four years after the ousting of Moammar Gadhafi, while ISIS has expanded by exploiting a security vacuum.

The chaos has reduced oil, gas and electricity production to a trickle, disrupted the import of wheat, food and hospital drugs and scared away foreign embassies and airlines.

The Telecommunications Ministry in Tripoli said land phone connections in the eastern and southern regions stopped “due to deliberate acts against a submarine cable station in Sirte,” a western city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.

It did not say who was responsible for the damage, adding that the lack of security made it impossible to fix the damage. Tripoli residents trying to call the east did not get a connection on the land line.

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