(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
After an intense battle between Libyan forces and ISIS fighters on Thursday, five foreigners who were held by ISIS in Sirte were freed, said an official.
“Each round of fighting has its own circumstances … and it’s difficult to predict when the battle will be over. But the end of Daesh (ISIS) will be very soon,” said Mohammad Ghasri, a spokesperson for the Government of National Accord.
“Sometimes the battle takes a long time because we face unexpected situations like civilians being detained,” explained Rida Issa, spokesperson for the Libyan forces in Sirte. “The battle is now in residential areas and that means tough, street-by-street fighting.”
Two of the foreigners are from Turkey, two are from India and one foreigner is from Bangladesh, reported Issa.
No further information has been released about where the foreigner were kept or how they were captured by ISIS in the first place. However, over the last two years foreign works at Libya’s oil facilities were abducted by ISIS.
ISIS abducted a Czech, a Bangladeshi, and an Austrian, in addition to other foreigners after they attacked an oilfield in May 2015 south of Sirte.
“There was a desperate resistance by Daesh (ISIS), but it was confronted by heavy weapons,” said Issa.
The terrorist group has been struggling to hold on to the final residential district that remains in their control. ISIS fighters have been setting up car bombs, booby-traps and snipers to slow down advances by the Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces.
Libyan brigades fighting ISIS in Sirte killed close to 20 ISIS fighters on Thursday and they fought their way into a neighbourhood known as 600 Distict in Sirte.
According to Libyan officials, ISIS only has control over an area that is less than one square kilometer.
Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces launched their offensive against ISIS in May and in August the US launched an airstrike campaign targeting ISIS locations in support of Libyan military efforts on the ground.