Ten killed in suicide car bombings in Libya

Libya's UN-backed government forces have faced heavy resistance after they began their campaign to capture Sirte three months ago. DAESH has been using Sirte as its most important base outside Syria and Iraq since it seized the city in June 2015.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Soldiers of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government try to put out a fire following a car bomb attack in al-Gharbiat in Sirte on August 18, 2016.

At least 10 fighters of the UN-backed government in Libya were killed in two separate car bomb blasts on Thursday near Sirte, where they were positioned as the government continues an operation to oust DAESH.

The operations centre for the forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) said that 20 people were also wounded in the two suicide car bomb attacks.

A view of the scene following a car bomb attack in al-Gharbiat in Sirte on August 18, 2016.

A spokesman for the forces, Reda Issa, said the attacks took place in the Gharbiyat area west of Sirte, near a centre used to distribute food, ammunition and other supplies to pro-GNA fighters. 

Backed by US air strikes, pro-GNA forces are fighting to clear the last pockets of DAESH resistance in Sirte, the hometown of former Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. 

The UN-backed goverment forces launched an offensive in May to retake the coastal city, which they entered on June 9, and have faced heavy resistance as they move towards the centre. Sirte lies halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi.

A fighter from the Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fires a rocket-propelled grenade launcher towards DAESH positions on August 16, 2016 in an area of central Sirte, known as District Two.

The US Africa Command said that it had carried out five more air strikes on DAESH targets in Sirte on Wednesday in support of the UN-backed government forces, bringing the total number of air strikes to 62 since August 1.

Last week the forces, who are directed from Misrata about 230 kilometres from Sirte, made massive gains, securing a number of large buildings and complexes in the town that had been used by DAESH snipers. They also seized a conference centre in the city used by DAESH as its command centre.

DAESH took over Sirte in June 2015, extending its presence along 250 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline and creating its most important base outside Syria and Iraq.

In May 2016, the US and other world powers agreed to supply Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli with weapons to counter DAESH.

In a meeting in Vienna, diplomats from Europe, the US and the Middle East also decided to train the Libyan coastguard to stop people crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. The meeting vowed to boost the new government of Fayez al Sarraj as the sole legitimate authority in Libya.

TRTWorld and agencies