Libyan govt forces close in on ISIS jihadists
09 August 2016, 14:03
Tripoli - Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord said on Monday they had seized a new sector near the Islamic State group's command centre in Sirte.
The pro-GNA forces have been engaged in a military operation since May 12 to retake the coastal city located 450km east of Tripoli.
Sirte has been a stronghold of the jihadist group since June last year.
On Monday, the loyalists said they had seized an area of guest houses close to the Ouagadougou conference centre, the complex from the era of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi, where the jihadists have their headquarters.
Pro-GNA forces entered Sirte in June, but their progress slowed as the jihadists hit back with sniper fire, suicide attacks and car bombings.
Since Thursday pro-government forces have been battling to reach the conference centre.
"Our forces have targeted Daesh snipers and their mines," the statement said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The guest houses are east of the Al-Dollar district, which the pro-GNA forces took last week and where VIP guests attending events at the Ouagadougou complex used to be accommodated.
On Sunday, the loyalist forces said they would soon begin a final assault to retake Sirte from ISIS.
The United States has since last Monday been carrying out air raids on ISIS positions in the city at the GNA's request.