By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 26 February 2016:
The hunt for members of IS in and around Sabratha continued today with an unknown number . . .[restrict]of suspected terrorists reportedly being cornered and killed.
Among the bodies pictured on social media was one said to resemble closely Noureddine Chouchane, the Tunisian, also known as Sabir, who the Pentagon said was the prime target of their air strike a week ago. The dead man is shown wearing ammunition pouch webbing and the long black top and foreshortened trousers favoured by IS in Sirte.
Early this morning, three armed locals died when a house in the Masalama part of the town was stormed. Seven male occupants of the building were killed along with three women while two men and two women were arrested. Caches of weapons and explosive were said to have been found inside. Zuwara hospital has reported that it has admitted 13 injured from Sabratha but has not said if they are locals or IS.
The hunt for IS terrorists, whose presence in the town was so long denied by town mayor Hussein Dawadi and the Tripoli authorities, appeared to have been intensified today. The Sabratha media centre called on all residents to report any suspicious people. It has warned that with many of their vehicles destroyed, the terrorists had been seeking to slip out of the town on foot. There are unconfirmed reports that a local family known to have rented to IS one of the buildings in the town, has been seeking to obstruct searches in the area it controls.
Among the pictures of alleged IS fighters is one of three young men in casual dress looking extremely frightened in the enclosed back on a pick-up truck.
Sources have told this newspaper that Abdullah Dabbashi, a Sabrathan alleged to be an IS supporter, was not killed yesterday as earlier reported but was wounded and has been taken to Zawia hospital for treatment. Dabbashi, from a prominent local family, is reportedly being guarded by members of Farouq Brigade, led by Abu Obeida Al-Zawi, one Libya Dawn’s more radical commanders.
Meanwhile it is being said that some Zawia residents have started turning Tunisians out of the town. [/restrict]