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Libyan forces seek to encircle IS stronghold city

Libyan forces seek to encircle IS stronghold city

Libya

Libyan forces aim to encircle a territory controlled by the Islamic State.

According to the country’s military spokesman, Mohamed al-Gasri, forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed government are advancing to the Islamic State’s stronghold of Sirte.

“The next step is to encircle Sirte, and then we will ask the residents to try to leave. We don’t want to enter now because of the residents. But if it becomes a battlefield we can enter within hours,” said al-Gasri.

The next step is to encircle Sirte, and then we will ask the residents to try to leave.

The troops have already moved within 15 kilometers of the city centre, a significant move made in almost a year.

Last year, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant asserted their presence in Sirte, though they also have some presence in other major Libyan cities including Benghazi.

According to reports, the insurgent group has up to about 3000 fighters in the war-torn country.

Since the ousting of long time ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-rich nation has suffered blows of attacks from Islamist militants battling for territory and recognition in the country.

Reuters