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14 killed in ‘violent clashes’ for Libya’s Sirte



Over a dozen people have been killed in “very violent clashes” between force loyal to Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNA) and the Daesh Takfiri terrorists over the city of Sirte.

A military statement said the Libyan forces “repelled a new counter-offensive from Daesh… in very violent clashes” during the early hours of Friday.

At least 10 terrorists and four of pro-government troops were killed in the battle.

The pro-government forces launched an offensive to retake Sirte on May 20. The city has been a stronghold of Daesh in Libya. The advance of the pro-government forces slowed down as they entered Sirte on June 9 and closed in on the city center.

The Daesh terrorists have targeted the forces with car bombs and sniper fire to hamper their advance.

Fighters from the pro-government forces loyal to Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNA) stand on a tank as they target the Daesh terrorist group in Sirte with a wave of airstrikes to help pave the way for ground troops to take the terrorists’ coastal stronghold, June 23, 2016. (AFP)

Pro-government forces from the west, Libyan naval forces and militias from the east have taken part in the offensive for the liberation of Sirte from Daesh.

Libya has been struggling to contain the Takfiri terrorists, which have been expanding their presence in the country since the overthrow and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Taking advantage of the political chaos, Daesh took control of Sirte in June 2015, almost four months after it announced its presence in the city, and made it the first city to be ruled by the group outside of Iraq and Syria.

A report released by the Human Rights Watch showed that Daesh has executed at least 49 people in Sirte over the past year.

Libya has had two rival governments since 2014, when politician Khalifa Ghweil and his self-proclaimed government seized control of the capital, Tripoli, with the support of militia groups, forcing the internationally-recognized government to move to the country’s remote eastern city of Tobruk.

However, they achieved a consensus on forming a unity government, the GNA, last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco, to restore order in the country.

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