- Title: Libyan forces face deadly Islamic State defence in Sirte holdout
- Date: 26th November 2016
- Summary: SIRTE, LIBYA (NOVEMBER 26, 2016) (REUTERS) LIBYAN FORCES GATHERED IN GHIZA BAHRIYA DISTRICT LIBYAN FORCES SITTING ON PAVEMENT LIBYAN FIGHTER DISTRIBUTING JUICE TO OTHER FIGHTERS LIBYAN FIGHTERS SITTING ON PAVEMENT VARIOUS OF TANK DRIVING ALONG DUSTY ROAD (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FIELD COMMANDER, MOHAMED AL-SABTY, SAYING: "Today we started the final phase to end the battle of Sirte. Now, we will advance towards the northeast of the Ghiza district. We took control of around 22 houses but we had several deaths and injuries today." VARIOUS OF TANKS IN GHIZA BAHRIYA DISTRICT TANK MOVING IN STREET / LIBYAN FIGHTERS SHOUTING (Arabic): "GOD IS GREAT" VARIOUS OF TANK FIRING VARIOUS OF TANK TRYING TO MOVE BETWEEN HOUSES TANK FIRING TANK TAKING POSITION TANK AIMING TANK FIRING VARIOUS OF TANK FIRING VARIOUS OF ARMOURED VEHICLE IN STREET WITH BLACK SMOKE BILLOWING IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF LIBYAN FIGHTERS STANDING IN HOUSE WITH WEAPONS VARIOUS OF FIGHTERS IN STREET FIGHTERS RUNNING TOWARDS HOUSE WHERE ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS ARE BELIEVED TO BE HIDING VARIOUS OF FIGHTERS AIMING AND FIRING FIGHTERS MOVING INSIDE DESTROYED HOUSE FIGHTERS LIFTED TO ROOF OF DESTROYED HOUSE BY TRACTOR FIGHTERS MOVING IN HOUSE (AUDIO OF GUNSHOTS) FIGHTER HOLDING ONTO STRUCTURE OF DESTROYED HOUSE TANK STATIONED NEAR DESTROYED HOUSES BLACK SMOKE BILLOWING IN DISTANCE DAMAGED HOUSE ON FIRE VARIOUS OF FIGHTERS IN STREET
- Embargoed: 11th December 2016 14:59
- Keywords: Libya Islamic State Sirte fighitng
- Location: SIRTE, LIBYA
- City: SIRTE, LIBYA
- Country: Libya
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0015A2ZE4N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Libyan forces faced fierce resistance on Saturday (November 26) from Islamic State militants defending a final strip of land in their former stronghold of Sirte, losing at least five men, officials said.
Forces led by fighters from the city of Misrata and backed by U.S. air strikes have taken all but a few dozen houses near Sirte's Mediterranean seafront since they began their campaign to recapture the city in May.
As the battle has worn on they have advanced more cautiously, trying to limit casualties among their fighters and among civilians and captives trapped with the militants.
Islamic State militants have defended their positions using snipers, tunnels, and hidden explosives.
The Misrata-led forces said in statements posted on social media accounts that they faced two suicide bombers, one using a belt and the other grenades. They also said that "a woman from Daesh (Islamic State) betrayed our forces and fired towards them when they try to provide a safe passage for her".
A Reuters reporter saw Libyan forces suffering casualties as they tried to advance after using tanks and heavy machine guns being used to destroy Islamic State-held buildings.
Five fighters from the Libyan forces had been killed and 18 wounded in the clashes, said Akram Gliwan, a hospital spokesman in Misrata.
The Misrata-led brigades said they had nevertheless managed to take control of new houses in the contested Ghiza Bahriya district.
Islamic State took full control of Sirte early last year, extending its presence along about 250 km (155 miles) of Libya's coastline.
Sirte's loss would leave the militant group without any territory in the North African country, though some of its fighters escaped during the early stages of the campaign and officials fear they will wage an insurgency from the south and west of the city.
The U.S. has carried out at least 420 air strikes since beginning an air campaign against Islamic State in Sirte on August 1.
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