Islamic State continues fierce resistance within confines of a small area of Sirte Libya

Even though it is six months since the forces of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous (Solid Structure or BAM) began the offensive against the Islamic State(IS) in the areas around Sirte and now within Sirte itself, a few remnants continue to hold out in the city.

Most of the fighters are brigades from the city of Misrata. They have been aided by U.S. air strikes since the beginning of August with a pause at the beginning of November. The remaining IS fighters are holed up in just one small section the Marine Giza district. In the last 48 hours fighting appears to have been stepped up with 37 IS fighters said to have been killed some wearing suicide vests. The U.S. African command has resumed bombings and reported that 50 fighting positions had been targeted by 13 air strikes just today. Since the bombing began there have now been a total of 411 air attacks.
A commander of the BAM forces, loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord called through a megaphone for civilians to surrender, especially women and children, offering them safe passage. There has been footage shown of three women in long black dress with hands held high making their way to the BAM front line. The Libya Herald claims that the area held by the IS now consists of only a few dozen properties along the Mediterranean sea coast. Still advancing forces are slowed by booby traps, mines and snipers. On Tuesday, BAM forces claimed that they pushed forward seizing a number of barricaded houses.
A spokesperson for BAM, Rida Issa, said: "The Islamic State gangs are trying desperately to resist up until their last breath." The BAM forces have lost at least three of their fighters since Monday. Several groups of civilians have been able to surrender or been captured during recent weeks. It is not known how many remain. Once Sirte is lost, the IS will hold no territory in Libya although there are no doubt sleeper cells spread throughout the country.
The U.S. AFRICOM Command said in a statement “The U.S. stands with the international community in supporting the Government of National Accord as it strives to restore stability and security to Libya. These actions, and those we have taken previously, will help deny Daesh a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies." "Daesh" is a term for the Islamic State. More than half of all the bombings were carried out during the month of October. Several hundred BAM troops have been killed in the offensive and a few thousand have been wounded as snipers, booby traps and suicide bombers have taken a heavy toll.


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