SIRTE, Libya, Aug. 22 (UPI) — The Islamic State is losing further control of the Libyan city of Sirte as pro-government, U.S.-backed militias said they captured the town’s main mosque and a prison.
The Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos militia group on Sunday said its forces advanced into two residential areas that held some of the last key hideouts of the Islamic State in Sirte. The militias’ offensive against the Islamic State in Sirte began in June, backed by U.S. airstrikes since Aug. 1 after weeks of stalemates.
Positions captured on Sunday after morning airstrikes include the al-Ribatt mosque, the Sahara Bank and the former Internal Security Agency, which was used as a morality prison by the Islamic State, also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL.
Sirte was the Islamic State’s stronghold in Libya but its dominance in the city has decreased since the militia’s efforts began in June — particularly after U.S. airstrikes were introduced. On Aug. 10, militias said they seized the last IS headquarters — the heavily fortified Ouagadougou Center. The militias then worked to hunt down scattered Islamic State militants hiding in Sirte’s residential neighborhoods.