Heavy casualties as Libyan forces advance on IS in Sirte

Forces loyal to Libyan government walk towards their position in Sirte (28 August 2016)Image copyrightAFP

Militia loyal to Libya’s unity government have suffered heavy casualties as they push into the last two areas of Sirte held by the so-called Islamic State group (IS).

Hospital sources told reporters that 34 government soldiers had been killed and 150 wounded in fierce fighting.

The coastal city was seized by the militant group in February 2015.

Forces aligned to Libya’s government of national accord launched an operation in May to re-take Sirte.

Overnight, Libyan and US warplanes carried out air strikes and mortar bombardment of districts one and three in the north of the Mediterranean city.

Media captionFeras Kilani meets the forces trying to rid Sirte of so-called Islamic State

Tanks and rocket-propelled grenades were used in the battle.

The brigades loyal to the government said IS militants had deployed five car bombs on Sunday to try to stop the advance.

Members of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fire a weapon towards Islamic State militants in neighbourhood Number One in central Sirte, Libya (August 28, 2016)Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionHeavy weapons were used in district number one in central Sirte