World Bulletin / News Desk
The coastal town of Sirte province that once the stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi, has been transformed into ISIL.
Six weeks ago, ISIL took control. Now, at the center Libya, forces allied with the government in Tripoli have struck what they hope will be a major blow to the group.
Libya Dawn forces attacked ISIL positions to the west of Sirte on Saturday. Fighting continued into Sunday morning. On Monday came the backlash, the first car bombing by ISIL in Misrata along the coast to the north-west.
Officials in Misrata said that Brigade 166, acting under the command of the Tripoli military commanders and composed of battalions from Misrata, had killed 24 ISIL members in the west of Sirte over the weekend. Six of the brigade’s own members were killed.
Ajaj al-Saqr, a general who had served under Gaddafi was among those injured. He had been living in exile in Egypt and is believed to have returned to Sirte recently.
Many Misratans allege that the armed group members now in Sirte are Gaddafi loyalists, recent returnees who have been hiding out in the desert or abroad. There are also an unknown number of foreign fighters among them, all under the flag of ISIL.
For more than five weeks, ISIL has been hanging from the Ouagadougou conference centre where Gaddafi once hosted lavish international meetings.
The bitter fighting has razed Sirte, Libya’s former capital. Now, there are snipers once again positioned on the conference centre’s roof, and some of the same brigades.
Some armed groups in the eastern city of Derna declared allegiance to ISIL.
Around 500 ISIL members are in Sirte. Their identities are unknown. As well as the conference centre, they hold a hotel and the flour mill.
Abrahim Ben Rajab, head of the Misrata Military Council, said that they had hoped other cities would contribute more forces to Brigade 166, to avoid the ISIL risk.Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Mart 2015, 09:52