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20 pro-govt forces killed in combat with IS in Libya's Sirte

20 pro-govt forces killed in combat with IS in Libya's Sirte

Libya

Twenty members of forces loyal to the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNA) were killed in clashes with Islamic State (IS) fighters on Friday in the insurgents stronghold of Sirte. Over a hundred others were wounded in the fight.

The fighting broke out as the forces kept closing in on headquarters of IS in Sirte, a coastal town 450 km east of Tripoli, the GNA said in a statement, referring to clashes at the gates of the headquarters of the IS.

The field hospital said it had received 20 “martyrs” and admitted 105 wounded in clashes during the date, the text added.

A first review reported seven dead and 49 wounded.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the insurgents disclosed that two of its fighters, a Libyan and an Egyptian, launched the two deadly suicide bombings on the government forces.

GNA forces, supported by the UN, launched a May 12 offensive to retake the city of Sirte, controlled by IS for more than a year. They entered the city on June 9 where they besieged the insurgents.

Pro-GNA forces, however, were hampered by the strong resistance of jihadists who led heavy resistance against attacks, including the use of car suicide bombings.

Since the beginning of anti-IS operations, about 250 members of government forces were killed and over 1,400 wounded, according to medical sources in Misrata (200 km east of Tripoli), seat of the command of the military operation.

The IS had taken advantage of the chaos in which Libya was plunged since the fall of Muammar al Gaddafi to seize Sirte in June 2015. Gaddafi was ousted by French forces after a popular uprising in the north African country.