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News, June 2016
118 Libyans Killed, 172 Injured, in Renewed Fighting in Sirte and Garabulli
June 22, 2016
39 dead in fresh Bunyan Marsous offensive in Sirte; IS loses ground
By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 21 June 2016:
At least 39 soldiers from the Bunyan Masrous operations room were killed today in massive clashes with Islamic State (IS) forces near the centre of Sirte. The fighting followed a fresh offensive by the operations room to seize the centre of the town.
Misrata Central Hospital reported that in addition to receiving 39 bodies, it was treating 33 injured, six of them in critical condition. Other reports, though, speak of at least 60 wounded. Most of the dead and injured are from Misrata although some are from Sebha, Sirte, Jufra and Waddan.
The number of IS casualties is unknown although the operations room spoke of dozens dead.
Most of the fighting was in the area known as “700 district” in south east of the centre, and less than a couple of kilometres from the Ibn Sina hospital. Bunyan Marsous says that it now controls much of the area as well as the already heaving damaged District No. 2 in the west centre of town along with the neighbouring Ben Hamal Mosque, the electricity headquarters north of the hospital and the radio station nearby.
Many die in day-long Garabulli violence
By Libya Herald reporters.
Social media shot reportedly showing locals in strife-torn Garabulli today (Photo: Social media)
Tripoli, 21 June 2016:
It appears that as many as 80 people may have died in fighting in Garabulli today, with tension remaining high as locals expect further violence in the next 24 hours.
Yesterday, a militiaman from a Misratan unit, believed to be the Bayou Battalion, which is based in the town, went into a shop and allegedly refused to pay for goods. The shopkeeper, Ali Al-Rajhi, shot the militiaman, identified as Al-Ghanma, in the leg. Some reports say Rajhi seized Ghanma’s own weapon and shot him with it. Before sunset, Ghanma’s comrades returned and burnt down the shop and demolished the shopkeeper’s home.
At dawn this morning, young men from Garabulli reportedly attacked three Misratan militia camps in the town, including that belonging to the Bayou Battalion as well as one used by military police. At some point, in one of the camps, a container holding ammunition is said to have exploded causing multiple deaths and injuries. A large brown cloud hung over a compound after the blast. It is being claimed that as many as 49 Misratans died in the course of the day, many apparently in that explosion. However, Misratan military sources are only been mentioning militiamen killed in the fighting in Sirte. There have been no comments about the Garabulli incident.
Meanwhile Garabulli sources are saying that 30 locals were killed and 25 wounded, many of them by Misratan fire from 106mm guns and, one report claimed, Grad rocket salvoes. A resident in the town told the Libya Herald that some of the wounded townspeople had died of their injuries because Misratans blocked the road to both Tripoli and Khoms. Ambulances were not allowed through.
The road either side of Garabulli had earlier been blocked by local residents with sand heaps.
The Bayou Battalion is reported to have abandoned its base and relocated to the village of Gasr Ben Hamad to the east of the town. One source in Misrata described the battalion as “hooligans deeply involved in people-smuggling”. Garabulli along with Zuwara has emerged as a key launching point for migrants.
Tonight the lightly-armed residents are preparing for what they believe will be a counter-attack tomorrow. One claimed that individuals from Tripoli had been arriving in the town to help with its defence.
The incident has been condemned by both the Presidency Council and by UN special envoy Martin Kobler.
In its statement, the Presidency called for militias to withdraw completely from Garabulli and for an investigation, saying that the guilty would be published. It also promised that the army would take over responsibility for security in and around the town.
In a tweet, Kobler said that he was shocked at what had happened and called on everyone to exercise restraint and resect the sanctity of Ramadan.
The death toll among Garabulli townspeople brings awkward echoes of Tripoli’s November 2013 Gharghour massacre in which 47 demonstrators died in a protest at the continued presence of outside militias. Those reverberations are the louder because there are unconfirmed reports that Bayou Battalion members were among the Misratans at the Gharghour base at the time of the killings.
At the time, there was widespread shock at what was the first major loss of life since the Revolution. The bloody confrontation, which was condemned by some in Misrata, led to the withdrawal of its militias from the capital. Misratan forces returned with the Libya Dawn takeover in June 2014. Militiamen from the city are now responsible for guarding prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj and other members of the Presidency Council in their headquarters in Tripoli’s Bu Sitta naval base.
Libyan forces take losses in battle for Sirte against Islamic State
Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:50am EDT
TRIPOLI | By Aidan Lewis
Libyan forces fighting Islamic State in its stronghold of Sirte said on Wednesday that 36 of their men had been killed and nearly 150 wounded in the previous day's clashes, one of the heaviest tolls in their month-long campaign.
Islamic State militants had been fighting hard to defend the shrinking territory they still control in the residential center of Sirte, said Abdalla Binrasali, a spokesman at the forces' media center in Misrata.
"The resistance was fierce and they were firing with everything they've got, mortars, rockets and rifles," he said. "They fear that if they lose more ground they will be defeated."
Brigades largely composed of fighters from Misrata launched a campaign to retake Sirte from Islamic State last month. They rapidly recaptured ground west of Sirte at the end of May, but their advance slowed as they closed in on the center of the coastal city.
On Tuesday fighting escalated and the brigades said they had taken control of parts of the "700" neighborhood, the broadcasting and electricity company headquarters and a mosque.
The "700" neighborhood is strategically important because Islamic State snipers have been positioning themselves on the district's taller buildings.
The brigades based in Misrata are aligned with a U.N.-backed unity government that arrived in Tripoli in March. It is seeking to replace two other rival governments that were set up in Tripoli and the east in 2014, and to unite Libya's many political and armed factions.
Islamic State took advantage of Libya's political turmoil to establish a presence in several of the country's towns and cities from 2014.
It took full control of Sirte, the hometown of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, last year, creating its most significant base outside Syria and Iraq. However, the jihadist group has struggled to retain territory elsewhere in Libya.
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
48 Libyan government soldiers Killed, 70 Injured in renewed fighting in Sirt
Al-Arabiya TV, June 22, 2016
ليبيا.. 48 قتيلاً في تجدد القتال بسرت
الأربعاء 17 رمضان 1437هـ - 22 يونيو 2016م
العربية نت - محمد العربي
قتل 48 وجرح أكثر من 70 آخرين من القوات الموالية للمجلس الرئاسي في سرت جراء اندلاع اشتباكات عنيفة من صباح اليوم الثلاثاء.
وقال مصدر عسكري مطلع إن القتال اندلع صباح اليوم إثر محاولة تنظيم داعش التقدم باتجاه الجنوب وتقدم آخر باتجاه ميناء المدينة لفك الحصار المضروب عليه.
وفي حديث خاص قالت المصادر لــ"العربية.نت" إن التنظيم مني بخسائر كبيرة اليوم حيث قتل من صفوفه العشرات، ونقلت قوات الرئاسي عشرات آخرين من أسراه إلى سجونها في مصراتة.
وأضاف أن قوات الرئاسي استطاعت السيطرة على مقر شركة الكهرباء والبريد والتقدم من المحور الجنوبي باتجاه وسط المدينة، مؤكدا أن التنظيم بات لا يسيطر إلا على 10 كلم مربع، ممثلا في مقرات إداربة والاحباء 1 ، 3 بالإضافة لحي الدولار.
وبحسب الصفحة الرسمية لعملية البنيان المرصوص التابعة لقوات الرئاسي فإن "معركة الحسم" بدأت منذ صباح اليوم باستخدام كافة الأسلحة، وأن سلاح الجو استطاع تسديد ضربات ناجحة لمواقع التنظيم بالمقرات الإدارية التي يتحصن فيها.
وفي سياق منفصل تجمع مئات من أهالي منطقة القره بوللي شرق طرابلس بعد مغرب اليوم الثلاثاء مع المجموعات المسلحة التابعة لميليشيات مصراتة بسرعة مغادرة المدينة وإخلاء معسكراتها، مهددين بحمل السلاح إذا لم تستجب ميليشيات مصراتة لطلبها.
وأقدم المحتجون على قفل الطريق الساحلي الرابط بين مصراتة والعاصمة طرابلس بالإطارت المشتعلة، لتمتد الاحتجاجات الشعبية إلى مناطق القويعة وقصر الأخيار شرق القربولي التي أقدم أهاليها أيضا على قفل الطريق الساحلي، مطالبين ميليشيات مصراتة بإخلاء المعسكرات التي يسيطرون عليها بمناطقهم.
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