Forces with the US-backed Libyan “unity” government continue to struggle with their attempts to try to push into the last strip of land in Sirte still controlled by the nation’s ISIS affiliate, with officials reported substantial new casualties over the weekend.
At least five Libyan troops were killed and 18 wounded in the latest incidents, which included a pair of suicide bombers and also an ISIS woman who “betrayed” the Libyan troops by shooting several of them when they thought she was an evacuating civilian.
The Sirte invasion began in earnest in early August, and within a couple of weeks most of the city had fallen. Though officials presented ISIS as “trapped” in this strip of land, they’ve held it for months on end now, and have also launched some attacks elsewhere, underscoring them being far from “contained.”
President Obama initially authorized a 30-day offensive against ISIS, though at the time officials conceded that there was no timeline for actually ending their involvement in Libya. The period has been repeatedly extended, and as with the last US military offensive in Libya there is no sign of Congress authorizing the operation.