(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
On Wednesday, Libyan forces fighting ISIS in Sirte were able to take over and secure the Ouagadougou Conference Centre, a hospital, and university buildings in the coastal city.
The advance came after the United States began its airstrikes campaign last week.
Libyan forces were struggling to advance further in Sirte prior to the US airstrikes because of military tactics, such as suicide bombings, sniper fire and landmines, used by ISIS that caught them off guard.
Rida Issa, a spokesperson for the GNA loyal forces said, “our forces have complete control of the whole of the Ouagadougou complex, they even advanced some distance beyond the complex.”
The Ouagadougou Conference Centre is a symbolic landmark in Sirte and was used by the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was referred to as the “king of kings” by some African leaders. ISIS used the symbolic building as their headquarters.
Sirte is the only Libyan city in which the extremist group based in, and once they lose Sirte ISIS will no longer have a stronghold in the country.
Earlier this week, the US, which began its airstrikes campaign on August 1st, has fired 29 airstrikes on ISIS in Sirte.
On Wednesday, GNA backed forces were able to make advances in an area with unfinished buildings, referred to as “bone buildings,” where ISIS fighters had positioned their snipers.
Issa said about 16 Libyan soldiers were killed and 11 others were wounded.
GNA forces also reported that one of their fighter jets crashed, with ISIS taking credit for the downing of the jet which resulted in the death of the pilot in a posted a statement on their website.