Frontline VIDEO: 214 Libyan Army Forces Killed, Injured in Attack on ISIS in Sirte

Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:00:58

At least 34 Libyan fighters were killed and more than 180 wounded on Sunday (August 28) as they closed in on the last Islamic State (ISIS , ISIL , IS and Daesh) terrorists holdouts in the coastal city of Sirte, according to a field hospital.

Forces aligned with Libya's government, supported since Aug 1 by US airstrikes, have pushed militants back into a small residential area in central Sirte in a three-month-old campaign.

Heavy fighting resumed on Sunday after a one-week lull. The Libyan brigades, mostly from the city of Misrata, say they are close to victory in Sirte, but they have struggled to defend themselves from suicide bombings, sniper fire and landmines.

On Sunday several brigades stationed close to Sirte's seafront advanced several hundred metres eastwards through Sirte's neighbourhood Number One, while other fighters overran Islamic State positions in street-to-street fighting to the south.

Fighters used tanks, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns to try to blast through buildings used by Islamic State snipers.

Local Libyan Cpmmander, Raafat Yahiya told Reuters "With God's blessing we advanced on them (Islamic State) from four different directions and we defeated them. Now the Daesh (Islamic State) are surrounded in neighborhood number three. Our forces advanced from the eastern front on the al Jeeza coastal area and that's how we surrounded them in neighborhood number three. The next assault shall finish them."

Many brigade members have only improvised weapons and fight in shorts and sandals.
The front lines in Sirte were quieter earlier this week as government-led forces said they were giving time to the wives and children of Islamic State terrorists to leave the battle zone.

Almost all the city's estimated 80,000 residents left after Islamic State took full control of the city last year, turning it into its regional stronghold and expanding its presence along about 250 km (150 miles) of coastline.

Libyan commanders say some Islamic State militants probably escaped around the start of the campaign to recapture Sirte in May.

Suicide bombings last week behind the front lines, in the outskirts of Sirte, have fuelled fears of a continuing militant presence outside the city.


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