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article imageOp-Ed: Tripoli-based government in Libya launches air attacks on Sirte

By Ken Hanly     Jun 22, 2015 in World
Surt - The Tripoli-based Libyan government has carried out air strikes on the city of Sirte, which is under Islamic State control. The strikes targeted a building where IS fighters had gathered, according to Tripoli officials.
Witnesses to the attack said the bombing was accurate and wounded militants had been taken to the hospital. Officials were not able to give specific details on casualties.The Islamic State has recently expanded its control in Sirte, taking the last suburb held by Tripoli forces and also taking control of the airport. The Tripoli forces need to retake territory on the ground, but so far there is no sign of that happening.
The Islamic State appears to have lost all or almost all of its first stronghold city, Derna, recently. Forces of the Shura Council of Derna Jihadists, were attacking Islamic State fighters in the last area in the east of the city where IS fighters still held positions. The fighting has lasted more than a week and there have been many Islamic State casualties. Apparently some IS fighters have fled into the nearby mountains. The Shura Council fighters are also radical Islamists, some associated with Al Qaeda. Their retaking of Derna will not mean that the internationally-recognized Tobruk government will be able to take control even though it is an area of their jurisdiction. The group opposes the Tobruk government and their military chief, Khalifa Haftar. The Council is allied with the Tripoli government.
Mohamed Abdulkafi, a ministry of defence spokesperson for the self-described National Salvation Government said: "Warplanes of the air force of the National Salvation government conducted air strikes last night on an internal security building in Sirte.The strikes targeted a gathering of militants of Islamic State. No figures of casualties from the strikes have been reported so far." A witness said that the building bombed was the former headquarters of former leader Gadaffi's security forces in Sirte. Tripoli officials claim that many Gadaffi loyalists have joined IS in order to expand their power in spite of the fact that Gadaffi fiercely opposed Islamic militants.
The UN has been attempting to have the two rival governments in Tobruk and Tripoli agree to a unity government as a political solution to the crisis. The UN special envoy to Libya had hoped to have an agreement before Ramadan started. Ramadan has started and there is so far no news as to what is happening with the dialogue process.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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