Libya: GNA Forces Take Control of IS Command Center in Sirte

libya-chk_jschlLibyan forces aligned with the UN-backed unity government Wednesday took over the Islamic State group’s command center in Sirte and several other strategic locations.

After four months of fierce combat, the Misrata forces fighting under the banner of the Government of National Accord (GNA) finally took control of Ouagadougou convention center used by the terrorist group as its headquarters. GNA forces also announced they have taken over the University and the main hospital in the city.

“Our forces have complete control of the whole of the Ouagadougou complex, they even advanced some distance beyond the complex,” Rida Issa, a spokesman in the forces’ media office, said.

The regular forces reportedly lost a warplane in the Wednesday fighting. The operation room did not disclose what happened to the aircraft but IS reportedly claimed downing it. The pilot has been killed in the incident, Libya Herald reports.

Takeover of the conference hall, the university and the hospital by GNA forces means a setback for IS which has taken control of the coastal town since last year.

GNA forces’ advance has been possible thanks to US air power which last week started shelling IS positions, reducing thus the terrorist group’s resistance. Since August 1, the Pentagon has launched 29 airstrikes against the militants “at the request of the GNA.”

Since it settled in Tripoli in March, the GNA has put regaining control of Sirte and IS destruction on top of its priorities.

Besides the American commandos, Italian Special Forces, French and British troops are also in Libya to collect intelligence and to assist Libyan forces in their battle against the terrorist group.

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