(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Libyan brigades fighting ISIS in Sirte report new advances on the terrorist group.
A five month military campaign has cornered ISIS into a residential area less than 1 kilometer long.
In the last couple of days Libyan forces advanced on ISIS’s hideout in neighbourhood Number Three with support from US airstrikes from above taking out ISIS militant sniper positions.
Airstrikes launched by the US military came down heavy on Sunday hitting ISIS targets with a total of 20 airstrikes, said the US Africa Command in a statement it released on its website on Monday.
Commanders of the Libyan forces said ISIS is fighting GNA loyal forces with every bit of force they have to keep the Libyan soldiers from taking an area known as Manara. Manara is a key position that can leave ISIS exposed and vulnerable once the forces loyal to the GNA take over its control.
“This is the end for them,” said Mohamed al-Ghasri, a spokesperson for GNA loyal brigades. “They have no other solutions, so that’s why they are fighting fiercely to stay in Manara.”
However, despite the advancements ISIS snipers continue to pose a serious threat to the Libyan fighters. On Sunday a dutch photojournalist was killed by ISIS sniper fire while covering the events.
Libyan fighters have also had to watch their backs while fighting on the front lines as ISIS has attempted to ambush the brigades from behind with car bombs.
On Monday the Libyan forces found a vehicle that ISIS left behind with lots of explosive devices that ISIS did not have the chance to use.
Rida Issa, another spokesperson for the Libyan brigades, reported that the forces were able to disable an ambush attempt by ISIS. The forces later found 55 bodies of ISIS militants and 22 more near Manara.
“It is highest number of Daesh (ISIS) bodies spotted since the beginning of battle against them in Sirte,” said Issa.
“According to the observations of our front line commanders, the bodies (of ISIS militants) found were those of Libyans, Tunisians and sub-Saharan Africans.”
UN-backed GNA loyal forces lost 11 fighters in the last couple of days and a dozen others were wounded.
Taking Sirte from ISIS will devastate the terrorist group that is also struggling to hold on to territory under its control in the levant.
For the GNA Success in Sirte will endorse its credibility to lead the war-torn country to peace, security and stability.