The head of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj announced Saturday night that the city of Sirte is no more the Libyan stronghold of the Islamic State organization (IS) yet the war against terrorism in Libya has “not finished”.
“After eight months of the start of military operations against the Islamic State in the city of Sirte, I officially announce the end of the military operations and the liberation of the city,” Sarraj said in a televised speech.
On December 5, Libyan forces loyal to the GNA announced that they had regained full control of Sirte, a coastal town located 450 km east of Tripoli.
After eight months of the start of military operations against the Islamic State in the city of Sirte, I officially announce the end of the military operations and the liberation of the city.
The GNA hopes to regain the trust of the Libyan people from the battle of Sirte as it is struggling to establish its authority in the country since its installation in Tripoli in late March.
Sarraj is being contested by the military leader of the parallel authority Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is based in the east of the country.
In his speech, the head of the unity government paid tribute to forces loyal to Haftar, who have been waging war against jihadist groups in eastern Libya for two years, hailing “the martyrs and heroes who are fighting terrorism in Benghazi.”
“The battle for Sirte is over, but the war against terrorism in Libya is not over yet,” warned Sarraj, stressing the need to unify the military forces in a single army.