(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Three soldiers were killed in a landmine explosion as Libyan forces advanced towards ISIS held Abu Grein, east of the city of Misrata, on Tuesday.
Libyan ground forces have surrounded Abu Grein from all sides and the army has launched airstrikes on ISIS targets in the vicinity of Abu Grein.
On Monday a speaker for the Presidential Council’s joint military operation against ISIS called “Albinyan Almarsos,” announced that Libyan troops were coordinating ground and air offensives against ISIS held Abu Grein.
Libyan troops were able to foil two ISIS car bombs before reaching the Abu Grein frontline. The injured soldiers were transported to a hospital in Misrata for treatment of their injuries, said Mohamed El Masri, a spokesman for the operation room.
The Government of National Accord’s (GNA) forces are preparing an offensive on ISIS stronghold Sirte, which is Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown.
The extremist group was able to take advantage of Libya’s ongoing political turmoil since the ousting of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, which left a power vacuum in Libya.
To aid in the GNA’s fight against ISIS, the international community has announced yesterday that they were going to partially lift the arms embargo placed on Libya to provide the GNA with arms so that its military is properly equipped to eradicate the extremist threat.
It is estimated that there are close to 6000 ISIS fighters in Libya, and with its port and airport, western powers fear that ISIS militants could launch attacks into Europe from their base in Sirte.
Western nations have expressed their faith that the GNA will be able to unify Libya’s various armed factions under a centralized military command against ISIS, with the west promising to provide assistance in the form military training, and not “boots on the ground” if requested by the unity government.