Backed by US airstrikes, Libya’s ‘unity government’ has reported what it is describing as a “final push” into the ISIS-held city of Sirte, aiming to take the last districts, along the coast, which remain under ISIS control. Heavy fighting is reported.
The push comes just days after the Pentagon estimated that only 200 ISIS fighters, all in Sirte, is all that remains of the faction in all of Libya. Pentagon officials described the ISIS fighters as being trapped along the coast, with “nowhere to retreat.”
There were no confirmations of new ISIS casualties in this latest push, but at least 10 unity government fighters were reported killed, and 60 others wounded according to a doctor familiar with the situation. Over 400 pro-government fighters have been killed in the Sirte push over the course of four months.
The US launched its first strikes in support of the unity government on August 1, and extended the military operation by an additional 30 days last week. These deadlines are seen as placeholders, however, as officials say there is no timetable for the end of US military involvement in Libya.