Libyan forces claim port in Islamic State stronghold of Sirte

By REUTERS
June 11, 2016 03:50
1 minute read.

 
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TRIPOLI - Forces aligned with Libya's unity government said on Friday they had taken control of the port of Sirte, making further gains in Islamic State's North African stronghold.

Brigades largely composed of fighters from Misrata advanced this week to the perimeter of Sirte's city centre, after launching a counter attack against Islamic State last month and driving the militant group back along the coastal road between the two cities.

The brigades are part of an operation backed by Libya's U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which arrived in Tripoli in March and has been gradually working to establish its authority.

Western powers see it as the best bet for trying to unite Libya's political and armed factions against Islamic State and for restoring some stability to the oil-rich North African country.

A source from the operations room in Misrata said fighters from the front line in the south of Sirte had looped round to the seafront to capture the port, which lies about 5 km (3 miles) east of the city centre.

The brigades have advanced more swiftly than many expected, though their progress has been hampered by suicide bombers, mines and snipers.

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