“Daesh has totally collapsed and dozens of them have given themselves up to our forces" - Libyan unity government claims victory over IS in SirteThe Islamic State militant group has been ousted out of its Libyan stronghold of Sirte by the country’s UN-backed national unity government after months of fighting.“Our forces have total control of Sirte,” Reda Issa, a spokesman for pro-government forces, told AFP news agency. “Our forces saw Daesh totally collapse”.The battle for the coastal city, which was the last significant territory in Libya held by IS, cost the lives of hundreds of loyalist soldiers as well as an unknown number of IS fighters, Issa added.The government forces seized the city’s Jiza al-Bahrieh district, the last area which IS had been holding out, and were in the process of securing it, Issa told DPA news agency.“Daesh has totally collapsed and dozens of them have given themselves up to our forces,” a statement on the loyalist forces’ Facebook page said.The victory comes at the end of a bitter seven-month campaign against IS, which had taken advantage of Libya’s split between rival governments to conquer its largest territory outside of Syria and Iraq.The militant group took over Sirte in early 2015 and at one point had access to 150 miles of Mediterranean coastline. The US claimed about 6,000 Isis fighters were inside Sirte, but subsequent analysis suggested the true number was closer to 3,000.IS fighters are still believed to be present in several parts of southern and eastern Libya but no longer control any cities.Despite the victory in Sirte, Libya remains a deeply divided country, with the Tripoli-based national unity government unable to gain recognition from the parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk.Forces loyal to Tobruk military strongman General Khalifa Haftar have made major advances in recent months, seizing the country’s critical oil ports from forces aligned to the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), which is led by Fayez al-Sarraj.In recent weeks, Russia has become more closely involved in trying to resolve the political stalemate by giving visible backing to General Haftar. Last week he met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.Russia has insisted it will not arm Haftar but believes he must be integral to any new political compromise, and a reshaping of the GNA.
The member of the Presidential Council of the UN-proposed government, Ali Al-Gotrani, proposed Sunday a transitional phase under the governing of what he called “the national army” led by Khalifa Haftar in order to have a full grip tightened on Libya and then reorder the political issues in accordance with other parties. In a statement to Sputnik, Al-Gotrani said the new proposal will end the role of all the institutions in the state except for the House of Representatives, while the “army” will be the supreme authority in the country. “Once our country is stable, democracy can take place and all parties can take to the ‘safe polls’ as the constitution drafting committee would be then resuming work as well as presidential and parliamentary elections would take place.” Al-Gotrani remarked. He stated that Haftar has the right, among all parties, to be nominated for presidential elections if he desired. Answering a question regarding Al-Gotrani’s statement, the spokesman of the Presidential Council (PC), Ashraf Al-Thalthi, said in a presser Monday that Al-Gotrani’s words speak for himself only and have nothing to do with the PC.
Sirte is not fully liberated and clashes against ISIS diehards are still ongoing in Jiza, fighters fighting the radical group confirmed to The Libya Observer on Monday. The fighters said only few ISIS houses are left before the total collapse of the group. Misrata-led forces launched early Monday a final offensive to eradicate ISIS remnants in sea-view Jiza apartment blocks after a last call for the militants to surrender was made. More than 25 ISIS militants were killed in Monday clashes while 30 others had surrendered. The spokesman of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos, Mohammed Al-Ghasri said their forces are still advancing in the remaining houses in Jiza, the last stronghold area of ISIS in Sirte.
AdvertisementForces aligned to Libya’s UN-backed national unity government have gained full control of Sirte after months of fighting, in a major blow to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in the country. “Our forces have total control of Sirte,” Reda Issa, a spokesman for pro-government forces, told AFP news agency on Monday. “Our forces saw Daesh totally collapse,” he said referring to the Arabic name of ISIL. “Daesh has totally collapsed and dozens of them have given themselves up to our forces,” said a statement on the loyalist forces’ official Facebook page. ISIL fighters are still thought to be present in several parts of southern and eastern Libya but no longer control any towns.
The high alert comes in line with the latest unrest that swept through the capital. _________________The presenter at Libya Channel, Malik Al-Sharada, was kidnapped once he arrived at Labreg airport, which is under the control of Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Al-Sharada who works for the Libya TV, which is owned by Libyan former ambassador to the UAE, Aref Al-Nayed, was coming from Amman, Jordan. _________________Libyan Airlines Company announced the kickoff of the Umrah season for 2016-2017 after they ended a meeting with a number of travel agents on last Thursday. The reopening came after a mediation by Tobruk notables and security department.
Ambassador-Designate to Libya, Giuseppe Perrone, and the Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Libya, Giorgio Starace, travelled to Tripoli and Misrata today while a delivery of 3 tonnes of medicines and medical aids carried by an Italian Air Force C-130 was being made to the two Libyan cities. The material is destined for the military hospital in Tripoli and the civilian hospital in Misrata. In the Libyan capital, Ambassador Perrone and Special Envoy Starace met Deputy Prime Minister Maitig and Foreign Minister Siyala. In Misrata, Ambassador Perrone and Special Envoy Starace were received by the local authorities, who expressed appreciation for Italy's continued support to Libya. Before leaving the city, the Italian delegation met staff working in the "Hippocrates Task Force" field hospital.
The LÉ Samuel Beckett rescued 269 migrants and recovered three bodies during a search and rescue operation off the coast of Libya today. Their bodies are now on board the LÉ Samuel Beckett." Following the operation, the LÉ Samuel Beckett was directed to rendezvous with an Italian Coast Guard vessel where a further 160 migrants plus 11 more bodies were transferred to the Irish vessel. The 429 migrants on board the LÉ Samuel Beckett have received food, water and medical treatment where required. Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe has commended the captain and crew of LÉ Samuel Beckett for the rescue.
The contests committee at the Libyan Basketbll Federation (LBF) decided to suspended the Libyan Basketball Tournament for the first group (western teams) until they can respond to the clarifications sent by Al-Itihad team regarding its failure to show up in the derby match against Al-Ahli Tripoli. The derby was supposed to be held at Al-Shuaa club’s hall in Zliten last Friday.
Awlad Sulaiman and Gadadfa tribes vowed to cease their fire and hand in the locations they were positioned in during the last clashes in Sabha to the authorities. They also vowed to never return to the locations and reopen the roads they blocked. Signing a doctrine of peaceful coexistence in the presence of reconciliation delegations from across Libya, the two tribes confirmed Saturday that neither side would venture a random reaction to any attack by the other side but will only respond to the perpetrator individually. “We both agree not to arrest anyone based on their identity cards.” The doctrine, which includes 12 points and has been signed in Minshiya district, reads, adding that the tribe shall never pay the price for individual actions. No social covering any more for the criminals who attack the other tribe and be adamant to turn themselves in to the authorities, agreed both tribes, remarking that both sides must speak out their demands to each other and vow to commit to the doctrine.
______________The Libyan Football Federation announced the draw of the eastern region’s quarterfinals of the Libyan Soccer Cup putting forth a derby between Al-Ahli Benghazi and Al-Naser and a match between Al-Hilal and Al-Akhdar. He emphasized that his ministry will only deal with the replaced mayors and will boycott the recently appointed military mayors. ____________The National Center for Diseases Control and UNICEF finished the Tunisia-held training course directed at the Libyan vaccination supervisors on Saturday. The Tunisian protesters are also prohibiting Libyan trucks and cars from entering Tunisia, in addition to preventing Tunisians from going to Libya. Only Tunisian and Libyan nationals returning to their countries are allowed to pass by the closed road.
Tunisian authorities said they had received sufficient assurances from their Libyan counterparts to address and speed up the process of the Tunisian sailors detained in Libya. The Tunisian Foreign Ministry stated via its official website that they are continuing to coordinate with the Libyan authorities at the highest level to proceed with the release of their boats and crew. They also confirmed that all sailors are safe and are being treated well, adding that the Ministry is making all efforts to ensure that the sailors return on board their boats at the earliest time possible. Four Tunisian trawlers were intercepted in the territorial waters of Libya by Coast Guard patrols last month.
Several brigades fighting alongside Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos military operation in Sirte decried the growing number of murders and abductions as well as the forced disappearances, which they said are aimed at civilians, activists, clerics, and journalists and media figures in Tripoli. In a statement issued on Friday, the brigades warned that they will hit with an iron fist all the parties that cherish using such a criminality as a means to press any foreign agenda or personal interests into the political scene in Libya. “We won’t back down with our decisions regarding those dangerous crimes and phenomena amidst the current absence of a government grip and the weakness to act by the municipalities and state security institutions.” The statement reads. Violent clashes swept through the capital on Thursday and Friday and to all appearances, the latest abductions and murders were not spared as a reason to trigger them, as one of the attacked brigades in Tripoli claimed that it was assaulted because it revealed the murder of cleric Nader Al-Omrani.
The spokesman of Khalifa Haftar’s forces, Ahmed Al-Mismari, vowed in a presser last Thursday that their forces will bomb the Canadian ship that is laden with humanitarian aids, which will likely arrive in Ganfouda in mid-December. The Canadian ship is going to distribute humanitarian aids and medicines to the civilians trapped in Ganfouda. “The Canadian ship will come to Ganfouda with evil intentions in the disguise of humanitarian assistance,” Al-Mismari said in the presser that was aired by Al-Thanni government’s Libya Al-Rasmiya TV. This is because we have issued an order treating all the ports in military operations’ areas as shutdown ports,” Al-Mismari added. He remarked that their forces are going to bomb any party that toys with the Libyan policy in its territorial waters.
An uneasy calm has descended on the streets and blocks where fierce clashes between armed brigades took place in Tripoli over the last two days. Tripoli clashes began on Thursday afternoon and stopped on Friday evening after successful mediation efforts among the clashing armed groups. The mediation was conducted by security leaders and political activists as well as a number of Tripoli and neighboring districts’ elders. Normal living conditions have characterized Tripoli streets on Saturday after two days of street fight and clashes. Aftermath of Clashes
On Friday, ten women accompanied by 32 children walked to the safe passages, which were provided by the Misrata-led forces. _________________Eighth Force of the Tripoli General Staff found Friday a weapons depot in one of the buildings on the Tripoli road in Sabha. This comes after the World Organization for Animal Health said it had registered avian influenza cases in Tunisia and Egypt. ________________Libyan Ground Handling Company workers went on a full strike in Lebrag and Tobruk airports on Friday morning, which caused the flights of Afriqiyah and Libyan Airlines companies to halt. The Chairman of the eastern region’s Libyan Ground Handling Company, Salah Salim, said the strike is a result of the negligence of the authorities regarding payment of months-delayed salaries for the company workers.