(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Libyan troops celebrated the recapture of the Abu Grein checkpoint from ISIS forces on Tuesday
Thirty-two Libyan Army soldiers were killed on Wednesday in clashes with ISIS fighters, including in a car bomb which went off near ISIS stronghold of Sirte.
An official from the operations room set up by the Government of National Accord (GNA), called Albinyan Almarsos or Operation Strong Foundation, reported on their Facebook page that the death toll in Wednesday’s battles with ISIS was 32 and 50 wounded as Libyan soldiers moved toward Sirte.
Seven soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack in Buairat el-Hassun, 60 kilometres west of Sirte, in which ISIS militants placed to target Libyan soldiers. The other soldiers were killed further west in Abu Grein in an area that the military did not yet take full control of in Tuesday’s clashes.
Mohamed al Gasri, a spokesman for the operation room said, “our hearts go out to the families of the fighters killed in the clashes, yet we assure them that we are keen on pursuing in the Albinyan Almarsos operation until we have freed all Libya from terrorist groups.”
On Tuesday, Libyan forces were able to recapture the Abu Grein checkpoint, one of the main checkpoints south of the city of Misrata from ISIS militants and were in the process of clearing the region of ISIS militants and traps. Libyan troops also recaptured Zamzam, Al-Gaddahiya, Abu Najeim, and Al-Wishka.
“Libyans, I am glad to inform you of the victory of Albinyan Almarsos forces as they were able to defeat the ISIS terrorist militias back to the fringes of Sirte city and liberated the areas of Abu Grein, Zamzam, Al-Gaddahiya, Abu Najeim, and Al-Wishka, al-Gasri said.
ISIS militants overran the Abu Grein checkpoint on May 5, which marks their most recent attempts at advancing into territory controlled by the unity government. The surprise suicide attacks prompted the unity government to establish its military campaign in Misrata against the terrorist group’s stronghold in Sirte.
Abu Grein is located 140 kilometres west of ISIS stronghold Sirte, and is on the main road leading south from Libya’s third largest city Misrata.