World Bulletin / News Desk
The Libyan Government of National Accord is about to claim victory against ISIL in Sirte as the militant group lost its last hold in the country, the U.S. military said Wednesday.
ISIL militants have resisted Libyan forces in an area of a few blocks on the Mediterranean coast of Sirte – the hometown of slain Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
“We saw some ISIL fighters come out of there last night and surrender and Misrata militias are now going through there doing back clearing. Looking for IEDs [improvised explosive devices]," Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.
He said nine fighters and 10 women and children accompanying them surrendered. Davis believes hundreds of fighters remain active in the area but acknowledged he did not know whether any ISIL fighters are hiding in the city to launch suicide attacks.
He said ISIL no longer controls any residential area in Libya but he did not rule out a possible ISIL presence in the country's deserts.
Since May, Libyan forces have tried to retake Sirte from ISIL, which captured the city in early 2015.
Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime strongman Gaddafi.
In the wake of Gaddafi's departure, the country's stark political divisions yielded two rival seats of government -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- each of which boasts its own legislative assembly and military capacity.
Last year, the two rival governments signed a UN-sponsored agreement in Skhirat, Morocco, which subsequently led to the formation of a unity government.
Last Mod: 08 Aralık 2016, 11:24