Libya govt forces register gains against ISIL in Sirte

Unity government launched ‘Operation Al-Bunyan al-Marsus’ in May with aim of recapturing ISIL-held coastal city

Libya govt forces register gains against ISIL in Sirte

World Bulletin / News Desk

Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed unity government have captured fresh territory in the city of Sirte, one of the ISIL extremist group’s last strongholds in the North African country, according to a military official.

"Our forces on Monday made significant gains against ISIL in the Al-Kampo district of [Sirte’s] Al-Jiza al-Bahariya neighborhood," Mohamed al-Ghasri, a spokesman for "Operation Al-Bunyan al-Marsus", told Anadolu Agency late Monday.

Libya’s unity government launched Operation Al-Bunyan al-Marsus in May with the aim of retaking Sirte from ISIL, which overran the coastal city last year.

By September, pro-government forces had managed to wrest most parts of Sirte from the extremist group, leaving ISIL militants holed up in the city’s Al-Jiza al-Bahariya neighborhood.

Al-Ghasri attributed the slow pace of the operation to the numerous mines and booby-traps planted by ISIL in the city and the deployment of ISIL snipers on rooftops.

According to the spokesman, three pro-government fighters were killed -- along with six ISIL militants -- in Monday’s fighting.

Al-Ghasri said pro-government forces had been supported by the Libyan air force, which, he said, "carried out five airstrikes on ISIL positions [in Sirte] while U.S. warplanes struck ISIL concentrations in the Al-Jiza neighborhood".

The spokesman went on to assert that as many as 80 ISIL militants had been killed in Sirte one day earlier -- on Sunday -- in fierce fighting that had also left eight pro-government fighters dead.

According to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which is headquartered in Germany and responsible for U.S. military operations in Libya, American warplanes carried out 20 airstrikes over the past three days targeting ISIL targets in Sirte.

Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi. 

Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- each of which boasts its own military capacity and legislative assembly.

In an effort to resolve the country’s ongoing political standoff, Libya’s rival governments signed a UN-sponsored agreement late last year establishing a unity government.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Ekim 2016, 15:39