US strikes Libya’s Sirte to re­move ISIS

Air­craft carry out 36 airstrikes from Fri­day to Satur­day

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

REUTERS/ US air­craft hit Is­lamic State tar­gets with more than 30 strikes over the past three days on the Libyan city of Sirte, as pro-govern­ment forces push into its last mil­i­tant-held dis­tricts, the US mil­i­tary said on Monday.

Libyan forces are close to end­ing a six-month cam­paign to lib­er­ate Sirte from Is­lamic State, which took over the city more than a year after tak­ing ad­van­tage of fac­tional in­fight­ing that emerged after the fall of strong­man Muam­mar Gaddafi in 2011.

Forces mostly from nearby Mis­rata city are push­ing ahead street by street, fac­ing snipers and sui­cide bombers. They are helped by US airstrikes since Au­gust and co­or­di­na­tion with small teams of West­ern spe­cial forces on the ground.

On Sun­day, Libyan forces re­cap­tured the city’s Cambo area, and swept out tun­nels used by mil­i­tants to hide and pre­pare am­bushes, and seized a field hospi­tal. They found charred bod­ies of mil­i­tants hit by airstrikes.

A Reuters re­porter at the scene said they also came across booby traps us­ing grenades and rocket shells.

“At the mo­ment, the forces are pre­par­ing to en­ter Ghiza Bahriya district,” Rida Essa, a me­dia of­fi­cial with the pro-govern­ment forces, said.

US air­craft car­ried out 36 strikes from Fri­day to Satur­day, mostly on en­emy fight­ing po­si­tions but also on a car bomb, ac­cord­ing to a US Africa Com­mand state­ment on Monday.

The loss of Sirte would close down Is­lamic State’s main strong­hold in North Africa and its only base out­side Iraq and Syria, just as the mil­i­tant group comes un­der pres­sure in the Iraqi city of Mo­sul.

/REUTERS

De­stroyed houses in the Cambo area, which Libyan forces al­lied with the UN-backed govern­ment cap­tured from Is­lamic State mil­i­tants on Sun­day in Sirte

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