Libya pro-govt forces preparing ‘decisive’ Sirte assault
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.