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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Islamic State still putting up stiff resistance even though they are bound to lose in Sirte

On Saturday the forces of Al Bunyan Al Marsous (Solid Structure or BAM) faced continuing fierce resistance from the few remaining fighters of the Islamic State(IS) holed up within a small area of the city of Sirte, their former stronghold.

The IS continued to cause casualties as well with BAM forces losing at least five men on Saturday. Most of the BAM fighters are from brigades in the city of Misrata. According to a Reuters report there are only a few dozen houses remaining to be captured. The BAM forces have been advancing only slowly in an attempt to limit casualties among their own fighters but also among civilians and captives held by the IS. The IS have used snipers, tunnels, suicide bombers and hidden explosives to slow the advance of the BAM fighters. According to a hospital spokesperson in Misrata, Akram Gliwan, as well as five BAM fighters being killed there were 18 wounded.
The BAM forces claimed they faced two suicide bombers and also a woman from the IS fired at BAM fighters after they tried to provide a safe passage for her. BAM forces used tanks and heavy machine gun fire to destroy buildings held by the IS. BAM was able to capture a number of houses in the Ghiza Bahriya district. The BAM offensive has been aided by U.S. airstrikes since August 1, with at least 420 strikes being carried out so far.
The Libya Observer confirms that five BAM members were killed Saturday but claims more than 30 others were injured. According to military sources the remaining IS fighters are trapped in 54 houses in the area. The sources also said 30 houses had been captured. Last week the BAM forces recovered bodies of 30 IS fighters in the zone.
Another report on the fighting cites medical sources as claiming that at least eight BAM fighters were killed as well as 17 wounded. Sirte was the home town of Moamer Gadaffi the long-time ruler of Libya until he was overthrown. It is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of Tripoli. The offensive against Sirte began in May. The six months of fighting have left about 700 of the BAM fighters, loyal to the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA), dead and 3,000 wounded. No one has kept track of the number of IS fighters killed.


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