Action 6 Dec 16

Dec 6, 2016 | ISIS

On 5 December, after days of heavy fighting and US airstrikes, the GNA-affiliated al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) fighters officially declared victory against ISIS in Sirte, declaring a final and total breakdown in ISIS ranks with many of their militants surrendering themselves to BM. Rida Issa, a BM spokesman, said the BM forces were backed by intensive US airstrikes to take the last ISIS-held buildings in the Jiza al-Bahriya neighbourhood. ISIS fighters who remained in a few dozen buildings in the district had surrendered earlier that day.

Late on 5 December, Ibrahim Irfaida, a BM field commander, said there were up to 10 houses in Jiza al-Bahriya that had yet to be secured and five more that had been destroyed by air strikes but had been not yet checked. “There are still some women and children and Islamic State fighters’ bodies in those houses that we have not yet secured,” he told Misrata FM radio. Another official said some militants were still hiding in the buildings. Irfaida said that even once Jiza al-Bahriya was fully under control, Libyan forces would need to try to secure villages and valleys south of Sirte where militants have been active. On 6 December, BM forces said they were securing the last few buildings and that a small number of militants were still in the area.

Earlier in the week, BM fighters managed to arrest a key ISIS figure, Abu Hamam, who was a preacher in one of the ISIS controlled mosques and had personally overseen a number of executions. After his capture, he was reportedly brutally executed and beheaded by the BM forces. Reuters has reported of multiple women suicide bombers who detonate themselves on BM forces killing at least 4 and wounding many more. As BM forces continue to sweep the final areas of Jiza, many children and women are being released from captivity – some of them booby trapped with bombs.