Tripoli | Forces loyal to Libya’s unity government said today at least 80 jihadists were killed at the weekend in the city of Sirte, a former stronghold of the Islamic State group.
“Commanders of front line units have counted at least corpses (of jihadists) killed as they tried in vain to attack behind the lines” of the loyalists, said the media office of forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA).
It said in a statement sent to AFP that the bodies of another 25 jihadists were found in alleyways of the battleground coastal city.
The pro-GNA forces, who reported eight soldiers killed and 57 wounded on Sunday, said vehicles, arms and ammunition were seized in the latest round of an assault launched on May 12 and executed in phases to recapture Sirte from IS.
A Dutch journalist covering the clashes in Sirte, Jeroen Oerlemans who worked for the Belgian weekly Knack, was shot dead on Sunday.
Oerlemans became the second journalist killed in the fighting in Sirte after Abdelqader Fsouk, a Libyan who died in July.
On Saturday, GNA aircraft conducted six sorties in preparation for another advance on the jihadists’ last hideouts in the city’s east.
American aircraft have also carried out 177 air strikes since August 1 in support of GNA forces, according to US Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The fighting has left more than 450 GNA fighters dead and 2,500 wounded. The IS death toll is not known.