By Libya Herald reporters.
Torbuk/Benghazi/Tripoli, 13 August:
The Islamic State (IS) has reported to have threatened to use gas against people in Sirte . . .[restrict]unless attacks against it stop.
House of Representatives member from nearby Sidra, Saleh Fhaima, told the Libya Herald the ultimatum runs out at 6pm this evening (Thursday). He said he and Sirte member Zaid Hadia had been phoned by a contact in Sirte who had informed them that 38 members of the Farjan tribe had been killed today by IS which had been shelling Sirte’s residential district No. 3. It is said to be the only area in the town not under IS control. Among the dead in today’s mass IS offensive, he said, were two children and four elderly people, all killed as a result of shelling. The others were Ferjani fighters, including the leader of the local Jaat Brigade, Marbouk Al Farjani.
Those fighting IS are reported to have relative few weapons largely, it is claimed, because when Misratan forces were stationed in the town, they regarded the locals as Qaddafi sympathisers.
Yesterday, it was reported that fighting in the centre of town resulted in the deaths of two IS commanders: Abu Huzaifa Ansari, a Saudi national, and Abu Hammam Masri, an Egyptian. Two local young men fighting against them, were also said to have been killed.
The fighting broke out two days ago following the murder by IS of a Salafist cleric, Khalid bin Rajab Ferjani, the imam at the town’s Cordoba Mosque. IS have managed to take over all the mosques in the town with the exception of those run by Salafists who have refused to hand them over. The imam is said to have been one of those who rejected IS’ demands.
Fhaima said he and Hadia were calling on the international community – specifically the US and the UK – to take military action to save the Farjan tribe from being wiped out by IS in Sirte. He also said that Hadia, himself a member of tribe, had gone to Marj to appeal for help from the head of the armed forces, General Khalifa Hafter, also a member.
In a statement, Fhaima also said that district No. 3 had been subjected to constant shelling by heavy weapons and that IS was advancing without much difficulty because people there had neither weapons nor ammunition. He added that if IS won this battle, there would be no further uprisings against it in Sirte, that it would control the whole town and be able to spread to all the surrounding oil fields. [/restrict]