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Libyan forces renew fight against Islamic State in Sirte after two-week lull

Two Libyan fighters were killed and six more wounded in the fighting. They were brought to the Misrata central hospital. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Tripoli, Tripoli District, Libya Sep 18, 2016, 08.49 PM (IST)
UN-backed Libyan forces renewed its fight against the Islamic State militants in the city of Sirte, after a two-week pause. 

The pro-government forces pressed an offensive pounding the militant holdouts with heavy artillery. 

"Our forces are using heavy artillery to target the positions where Daesh (IS) holdouts are cowering," they said in a statement.

Heavy shelling was noted inside the Sirte city, targeting militants. Two fighters had been killed and six more were wounded and brought to the Misrata central hospital. 

The forces killed at least two suicide bombers before the militants could detonate their vehicles. 

The spokesman for the loyalist forces said the field commanders held several meetings before the decision was taken to resume the offensive after the two-week lull. 

"Progress is now being achieved and our forces are clashing with Daesh fighters," he told AFP.

Several buildings were seized in fierce clashes, including a school that was turned into an Islamic State workshop for assembling bombs. 

Libyan troops have made significant advances in Sirte with the help of US air strikes and helicopter raids. 

But suicide bombing and sniper fire have slowed the offensive by the pro-government forces.

Losing the city of Sirte would be a major blow for the militant group that had taken captured in the city on June last year. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
 
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