TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libyan forces renewed their push to oust Islamic State from its former North African stronghold of Sirte on Sunday, saying they had seized the city’s main mosque and a jail run by the militants’ morality police.
The forces, mainly brigades from the city of Misrata, say they are close to capturing Sirte after taking most of the city in a three-month campaign and restricting militants to a shrinking residential area in the city centre. Since Aug. 1, they have been supported by U.S. air strikes.
At least nine brigade fighters were killed and 85 wounded in Sunday’s fighting, Misrata hospital spokesman Akram Gliwan said.
Fighters backed by heavy artillery and tanks advanced early in the day in Bufaraa neighbourhood, seizing a building used by Islamic State’s morality police as a prison, said Rida Issa, a spokesman.
Later, forces took Ribat mosque, Sirte’s biggest, where senior militants, including leading Islamic State ideologue Turki Ben Ali, had preached, the forces’ media office said. READ MORE OF THIS STORY
SOURCES: Reuters News Agency