- Title: Libyan forces press forward against Islamic State in Sirte
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: LIBYAN FORCES GOING THROUGH HOLE IN WALL OF DAMAGED BUILDING
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 18:29
- Keywords: Libya Sirte army Islamic State
- Location: SIRTE, LIBYA
- City: SIRTE, LIBYA
- Country: Libya
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00359J2RT3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT AND NUMEROUS IMAGES OF DEAD BODIES
Libyan forces advanced on Tuesday (November 22) into a residential area in the last sliver of territory held by Islamic State in its former North African stronghold of Sirte.
Backed by U.S. air strikes, brigades dominated by fighters from the city of Misrata have been edging forward against militants trapped in an area a few hundred metres wide next to Sirte's Mediterranean coast.
Reuters footage showed Libyan forces walking through the residential area of al-Giza district and entering damaged buildings where there were several bodies of dead Islamic State fighters.
The six-month campaign to recapture Sirte has slowed as militants use sniper positions, sand-filled barricades and tunnels to defend their positions against shelling and air strikes.
The Misrata-led forces said there were more than 30 militants among the dead since fighting resumed on Monday (November 21), and that they had lost at least three of their own men.
Hours before the push, the forces published video online showing one of their fighters shouting out messages through a loud hailer urging women and children to leave the area and promising them safe passage.
Several groups of civilians, including captured sub-Saharan migrants, have either escaped or been released from the area held by Islamic State over recent weeks. It is not clear how many militants or civilians remain.
As of Saturday, the U.S. had carried out 398 strikes against Islamic State in Sirte, according to a statement from U.S. Africa Command.
Islamic State took full control of Sirte early last year. It expanded its control along about 250 km (155 miles) of Libya's sparsely populated central coastline before local forces began their campaign in May.
Losing Sirte will leave Islamic State with no territory in Libya, though some militants are believed to have escaped in the early stages of the battle.
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