Libya pro-government forces rescue 14 civilians in Sirte

Libyan forces fighter affiliated with the Tripoli government searches for sniper positions from a hole in a building on the frontline in Sirte, Libya, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP)

Libyan pro-government forces fighting ISIS in Sirte evacuated 14 civilians from a battleground district of the city, they said on Sunday.

“Our forces today successfully secured the departure of 14 civilians, mostly women and children,” from the last part of the city where ISIS fighters are holed up, the pro-government forces said in a statement.

ISIS militants have been cornered in a single area of Sirte after a months-long assault by forces allied with Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Unity (GNA).

It is not known how many civilians remain in the Al-Jiza Al-Bahriya neighborhood.

Sirte, 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, had a population of 120,000 before IS seized it in June 2015 and residents began to flee.

Pro-GNA forces said in October they had managed to rescue an Egyptian and a Turk from ISIS-controlled zones, as well as 11 Eritreans who were thought to have been held hostage by the group.

Backed by US air strikes, pro-GNA forces are facing snipers, car bombs, suicide bombings and booby traps as they advance on the militants’ last holdout in Sirte.

More than 550 pro-government fighters have been killed in the fighting since May. The toll on the ISIS side is not known.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48