Bunyan Marsous forces make progress in Sirte against IS – with US air support
By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 8 August 2016:
The Misratan-led Bunyan Marsous operation against the so-called Islamic State (IS) says the Ouagadougou Centre in Sirte and the Ibn Sina Hospital are now almost within its grasp following yesterday’s capture of the nearby government hospitality buildings. Heavy fighting, however, was reported today in central Sirte’a Shabiya district next to the hospitality buildings, with IS snipers still highly active. One source in the town described the fighting as a “street war” which was going very slowly.
Shabiya district is just north of Ougadougou Centre which, with its network of underground facilities on more than one level, remains the main base for IS operations in the town.
Although Bunyan Marsous continues to say almost nothing about US air strikes, they are seen as the main reason for its advance against IS. The US Africa Command – Africom – said yesterday that it had carried out 20 airstrikes on IS positions since its Operation Odyssey Lightening began on 1 August. On Saturday, it said it hit four IS positions and five on Sunday, including three supply trucks and two rocket launchers. The strikes, it noted, were at the request of “and in coordination with” the Government of National Accord (GNA).
Bunyan Marsous has also stopped giving casualty figures. However, according to Misrata Central Hospital, four soldiers were killed yesterday. A further 47 were reported wounded.