- Title: Libyan forces take control of Sirte
- Date: 6th December 2016
- Summary: SIRTE, LIBYA (DECEMBER 6, 2016) (REUTERS) ARMED LIBYAN FORCES STANDING BY RUBBLE VARIOUS OF FIGHTERS LOOKING INSIDE DESTROYED BUILDING VARIOUS OF FIGHTER CARRYING CHILD OUT OF DESTROYED BUILDING VARIOUS OF FIGHTER CARRYING YOUNG GIRL AWAY VEHICLE SPEEDING AWAY WITH CHILDREN ON BOARD ARMED FIGHTER GATHERED AROUND CHILD, GIVING HIM WATER SOLDIER CARRYING CHILD CHILD SITTING IN AMBULANCE TANK FIRING FIGHTERS FIRING FROM DESTROYED BUILDING VARIOUS OF FIGHTER FIRING FROM BEHIND TANK VARIOUS OF FIGHTER STANDING BY TANK VARIOUS OF SMOKE RISING FROM RUBBLE / FIRE BURNING MEN STANDING BY AMBULANCE VARIOUS OF MEN CHECKING WOUNDED CHILD INSIDE AMBULANCE MOTHER OF CHILD SITTING IN AMBULANCE MEDICS CHECKING ON WOUNDED CHILD IN HOSPITAL AS MOTHER SITS NEARBY BABY CRYING AS MEDICS INSPECT HIM (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WIFE OF ISLAMIC STATE FIGHTER, SAYING: "I was scared to go out, but then I did, thinking I'll surrender myself and I'll go out, so they secured me and we went out. Thank goodness." VARIOUS OF WOUNDED WOMAN LYING ON HOSPITAL STRETCHER VARIOUS OF AMBULANCE, TRAFFIC AND CELEBRATIONS WITH FLAGS OUTSIDE HOSPITAL MEN WAVING FLAGS, GUNSHOTS BEING FIRED, CHANTING (Arabic) "BLOOD OF MARTYRS" AND "LIBYA" MEN CHANTING (Arabic) "NO GOD BUT ALLAH" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LIBYAN FIGHTER, MOHAMED AL-SABTY, SAYING: "Full control over Sirte has been announced, thank goodness, there is no trace of IS left now in this city. We have some people left still and we're combing the area for mines and bombs, and thank goodness, the battle today was fierce, there was a large number of suicide bombers, but a large number of families and children were rescued." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CELEBRATING VARIOUS OF PEOPLE HUGGING FIGHTERS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AND FIGHTERS WALKING AMONG RUBBLE
- Embargoed: 21st December 2016 20:16
- Keywords: Sirte Libya Islamic State army recapture liberate
- Location: SIRTE, LIBYA
- City: SIRTE, LIBYA
- Country: Libya
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BR07D3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Libyan forces said on Tuesday (December 6) they had cleared the final district of former Islamic State stronghold of Sirte in which the jihadist group had been holding out.
Rida Issa, a spokesman for the forces, said they had "secured all the buildings and the streets" in the Ghiza Bahriya area, where Islamic State fighters have dug in for weeks.
Islamic State took over Sirte in early 2015, setting up its most important base outside the Middle East and extending its control along about 250 km. (150 miles) of Mediterranean coastline.
Militants had been clinging on in a few dozen buildings in Ghiza Bahriya for weeks. In recent days, Libyan forces say dozens of women and children have escaped or been freed from the area, and Lajnef said at least 10 more left militant-held ground on Monday.
"I was scared to go out, but then I did, thinking I'll surrender myself and I'll go out, so they secured me and we went out. Thank goodness," a woman who said she was the wife of an Islamic State fighter, said.
The presence of the families had been one of the factors complicating attempts to push forward into the final sliver of land held by Islamic State, and several women carried out suicide attacks as they were being granted safe passage.
"Full control over Sirte has been announced, thank goodness, there is no trace of IS left now in this city. We have some people left still and we're combing the area for mines and bombs, and thank goodness, the battle today was fierce, there was a large number of suicide bombers, but a large number of families and children were rescued," said Libyan fighter Mohamed Al-Sabty, as groups of people celebrated.
Forces led by brigades from the western city of Misrata launched a counter-attack against the jihadist group in May, and since August 1 the United States has carried out more than 490 air strikes to support them.
The forces fighting in Sirte were nominally aligned with a U.N.-backed government that moved to Tripoli in March, part of international efforts to end the conflict and political turmoil that have plagued Libya since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising in 2011.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None