Libyan Forces Corner IS Fighters In Sirte

Libyan forces corner IS fighters in Sirte

SIRTE, Libya, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 29th August, 2016) : Libya's pro-government forces on Monday cornered Islamic State group extremists in their last holdouts in the city of Sirte, after heavy fighting that left dozens dead and wounded. The battle for IS's North African stronghold was launched more than three months ago by forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. Those forces have been backed by US air raids for almost a month, amid international concern over the group's growing influence in one of IS's few centres of operation outside Syria and Iraq.

IS overran the Mediterranean hometown of Libya's slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi in mid-2015, sparking fears the jihadists would use it as a springboard for attacks on Europe. Pro-GNA forces on Monday said they had encircled the extremists in less than two square kilometres (0.7 square mile) in Sirte, after staging an assault the previous day on its last two IS-held districts. The anti-IS fighters "seized a little more than half of district number three and 70 percent of district number one" in the city's downtown seafront area, they said. At least 34 pro-GNA fighters have been killed and 185 wounded since they began their "final battle" to retake the whole of Sirte on Sunday, the hospital for the loyalist forces said. IS casualty figures were unavailable.