Sirte - Islamic State group jihadists in Libya have carried out nine suicide bombings in one day in a failed bid to hold a central district of Sirte, pro-government forces said on Wednesday.
The attacks on Tuesday in the coastal city left nine pro-government fighters dead and 82 wounded, said Reda Issa, a spokesperson for forces allied with the unity government.
They took place as forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA), backed by US air strikes, advanced on Sirte's central District Two as part of a three-month offensive to oust the jihadists from the city.
An ISIS fighter blew up his vehicle close to a group of soldiers and journalists, wounding several.
Five of the bombers attacked using cars, one on a motorbike and three on foot, said the pro-GNA forces, which published several photos of the bombers' corpses.
ISIS seized Sirte, 450km east of Tripoli, in June 2015 and turned it into its North African stronghold, but they now hold just a few pockets of the city.
Pro-GNA forces launched an offensive in mid-May to retake the city, which they entered on June 9, facing heavy resistance as they moved towards the centre.
The US Africa Command said on Wednesday that it had carried out nine more air strikes on ISIS targets in Sirte on Tuesday in support of the pro-GNA forces, bringing the total number to 57 since August 1.
Last week the pro-government fighters seized a conference centre in the city used by ISIS as its command centre.