By Dibie Ike Michael
Forces led by brigades from Misrata have pressed further into Sirte’s neighbourhood number three as an intensified aerial bombardment and a barrage of tank fire slowly dislodged militant sniper positions.
Islamic State controls a residential strip less than 1 Km long in their former stronghold in Libya’s Sirte, where pro-government forces backed by U.S. air strikes are advancing.
Misrata commanders said Militants were clinging to an area called Manara, a sub- district if ceded would leave them exposed to defeat in what was once the group’s main base outside territory controlled in Iraq and Syria.
At the moment, we’re at the end of neighbourhood number three and thank God, we targeted a number of snipers
According to U.S. Africa Command, the U.S. intensified its air attacks on Sirte, carrying out 20 strikes against multiple fighting positions.
“At the moment, we’re at the end of neighbourhood number three and thank God, we targeted a number of snipers — this morning we shot seven Islamic State snipers,” said Ibrahim al-Taleb, a Libyan fighter.
Many of the buildings in the area where recent fighting has taken place are partly ruined or reduced to rubble.
Forces have also had to deal with attacks from behind the front lines, including car bombings, which have fuelled fears of a continuing insurgent threat in the area after Sirte’s capture.
A second spokesman for the Misrata-led operation, said as many as 55 bodies of slain Islamic State fighters had been counted after the attack, with another 25 counted around Manara.