Libya pro-govt forces pre­par­ing ‘de­ci­sive’ Sirte as­sault

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

TRIPOLI—Libya’s unity gov­ern­ment forces said Wed­nes­day they were pre­par­ing for a fi­nal as­sault on the IS group’s strong­hold of Sirte, af­ter re­pelling mul­ti­ple counter-at­tacks from the sur­rounded mil­i­tants.

“De­spite ap­par­ent calm along the fronts, our in­tel­li­gence net­work is in full swing in prepa­ra­tion for the de­ci­sive bat­tle,” forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Gov­ern­ment of Na­tional Ac­cord (GNA) said in a state­ment.

Anti-IS forces launched an op­er­a­tion to re­take Sirte — the home­town of late dic­ta­tor Muam­mar Qaddafi — last month and quickly sur­rounded the ex­trem­ists. IS hit back with string of sui­cide car bomb­ings in a bid to break the en­cir­clement.

Ac­cord­ing to the proGNA forces state­ment, fight­ers were tar­get­ing ISIS-held areas of Sirte with heavy ar­tillery as well as with “daily” air strikes.

“(IS fight­ers) are be­sieged in a small area of Sirte and although they have sought to break out our forces have re­pelled all at­tempts,” the state­ment said. It added that the ji­hadists had bar­ri­caded them­selves

Ac­cord­ing to med­i­cal sources, five pro-GNA forces were killed and 16 wounded in clashes. Loy­al­ists been killed and hun­dreds wounded since the start of the of­fen­sive to cap­ture Sirte, 450 kilo­me­ters east of Tripoli.

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