Libyans Take Heavy Casualties in Final Push on ISIS Bastion

A member of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fires a weapon towards Islamic State militants in neighborhood Number One in central Sirte, Libya
A member of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fires a weapon towards Islamic State militants in neighborhood Number One in central Sirte, Libya

Reda Issa, a media official with the anti-ISIS operation, says the extremist group set off 12 suicide car bombs on Sunday, with three hitting their targets. Five of the bombs were destroyed by airstrikes, and the other attacks were foiled by ground forces. He said the militants are cornered in two neighborhoods.

“It was fierce yesterday. After nearly 100 days of the battles, ISIS is now fighting its last battle,” said Issa.

The Libyan forces — mostly from the adjacent city of Misrata— support a United Nations-brokered government based in Tripoli. They have driven ISIS out of most of Sirte over the last two months with help from U.S. airstrikes.

Over the past week, pictures posted on the Facebook page of the anti-ISIS operation showed sacks of cash, jewelry, mobile phones, and other personal belongings of ISIS members who either fled or were killed in the fighting.

ISIS and other extremist groups gained a foothold in Libya during the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The country has been split between rival parliaments and governments, each backed by a loose array of militias and tribes. Western nations view the newly-formed U.N.-brokered government as the best hope for uniting the country, but Libya’s parliament, which meets in the far east, has refused to accept it.

 

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