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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Libya's unity government pushes to retake Sirte from Daesh

Iran Press TV

Sat Sep 3, 2016 1:35PM

Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) have launched a final offensive to retake the city of Sirte from the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

"We are attacking the last Daesh positions in district three," said a soldier with the GNA on Saturday.

Other sources inside the GNA confirmed the final attack had begun in Sirte, with the government's media service saying on its Facebook page that pro-government forces were closing in on Daesh terrorists in the coastal city.

The media center said the forces were "advancing inside the areas where Daesh is, in district three," adding that so far, they have taken control of the buildings of two banks and a hotel.

Medical sources in Misrata, a city located to the west of Sirte, said one pro-government fighter had been killed in the fighting. Witnesses said ambulances were rushing out of Sirte to transfer the wounded to hospitals in Misrata.

Sirte, located on the Mediterranean coast, is the main urban center Daesh has managed to seize outside Iraq and Syria. Recapturing the key city would inflict a huge blow to the terrorist group in its drive to expand the militancy outside the Middle East.

GNA forces managed to liberate neighborhood Number One in central Sirte earlier in the week, marking a major advance in their months-long operation against Daesh in the city.

At least six fighters were killed and a dozen wounded in the offensive on August 29, which saw Daesh terrorists using mines, car bombs or artillery to slow the advance of Libyan troops.

Libyans announced a pause in the fighting two weeks ago to allow women and children leave the battle zone before the final push began.

The large-scale military operation began in May, when the UN-backed government decided to purge the militants from the city, which is the hometown of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Daesh, which captured Sirte last year, had taken advantage of a chaos gripping Libya since 2011, when a NATO military intervention followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of Gaddafi.

The GNA, endorsed by the United Nations and several Western governments, has yet to fully establish its authority across Libya. The cabinet is made up of representatives from a parliament based in the east, which formerly enjoyed support from the UN, and a militia government based in the capital Tripoli in the west.

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