Scores of ISIS bodies found in former Libya bastion

2016-12-09 14:23
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Tripoli - The bodies of scores of Islamic State group fighters have been retrieved from the former jihadist bastion of Sirte, which Libyan pro-government fighters seized this week, loyalist forces said on Thursday.

Three days after the fall of ISIS's last remaining stronghold in the north African country, forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said "sweep and clean-up" operations in the city had discovered the bodies of 266 jihadists.

The remains were "in the streets or in houses in different neighbourhoods," a statement said.

The pro-GNA coalition announced its full control of Sirte on Monday, in a major blow to the jihadists, and that dozens of IS fighters had surrendered.

Sirte's fall comes as IS also faces a string of military setbacks in Syria and Iraq.

Loyalist forces launched the offensive against Sirte on May 12, quickly seizing large parts of the city and cornering the jihadists.

But IS put up fierce resistance with suicide car bombings, snipers and improvised explosive devices.

The battle for the city cost the lives of nearly 700 loyalist troops and wounded some 3 000.

It was impossible to gauge losses among jihadist ranks during the operation, but a pro-GNA security official told AFP Thursday that "at least 2 500" ISIS fighters had died.

Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 Nato-backed ousting of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi, with rival administrations emerging and well-armed militias vying for control of its vast oil wealth.

Read more on:    nato  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

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