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20 loyalist troops killed fighting IS in Libya's Sirte

Fighting was fiercest around Sirte's conference centre, which has become a command headquarters for IS at the heart of the city.



Tripoli: 20 Libyan unity government fighters were killed and more than 100 wounded today in clashes with the Islamic State group in the jihadists' coastal stronghold of Sirte, pro-government forces said.

Fighting was fiercest around Sirte's conference centre, which has become a command headquarters for IS at the heart of the city, a statement from forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said.

It said 20 fighters were killed and 105 wounded, updating an earlier toll of seven dead and 49 wounded.

Pro-GNA forces launched an operation in May to recapture Sirte, 450 kilometres east of Tripoli, after the jihadists overran the city in June last year.

Its fall would be a major blow to IS, which has faced a series of setbacks in Syria and Iraq.

The two-month battle for Sirte has killed around 250 pro-government fighters and wounded more than 1,400, according to medical sources at the unity forces' command centre.

The pro-GNA forces are mostly made up of militias from western Libya established during the 2011 revolt that overthrew dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

A militia set up to guard the country's main oil facilities has also been advancing on IS.

The GNA was the result of a UN-brokered power-sharing agreement struck in December, but it has yet to be endorsed by Libya's elected parliament based in the country's far east. 

From Zee News

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