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Ten anti-IS fighters killed in suicide bombing in Libya

Government-supporting troops have been advancing towards IS strongholds in recent weeks [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 June, 2016

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Government-aligned troops fighting the Islamic State in Libya were killed when an IS militant detonated himself on Thursday.

Ten members of Libya's anti-IS forces were killed when a suicide car bombing detonated west of Sirte on Thursday, said hospital sources.

Fighters from battalions supporting the unity government fighting the Islamic State group in the North African country were struck when an IS militant carried out the attack on Thursday afternoon.   

"Ten dead and seven wounded were brought in... after a suicide attack carried out by [IS] in Abu Grein," 130km (80 miles) west of the coastal city of Sirte, said a source at the central hospital in Misrata.

The government of national accord [GNA] forces are mostly made up of militias from western cities, notably Misrata, and the guards of oil installations that IS has repeatedly tried to seize.

On Saturday, the troops claimed to have seized the port in Sirte as they advanced continue towards the city centre.

The government of national accord [GNA] forces continue in their advance towards the city centre after retaking a residential area in the east of Sirte, spokesman Mohammed al-Aredi told The New Arab.

"They are working on clearing and securing the areas captured in preparation for further advances towards the city centre," Aredi said.

At least ten soldiers were killed and nearly 35 others wounded in Saturday's fighting, Aredi added.

The fall of Sirte, the hometown of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi and now a main IS stronghold, would be a major setback to the militant group, which has also lost territory in Syria and Iraq, where they have declared an Islamic "caliphate".

The rapid pace of the anti-IS advance has even surprised Libyan authorities.

"The battle wasn't difficult as we thought it would be," a Libyan government official said on Friday.

Foreign intelligence services estimate the extremist group has 5,000 fighters in Libya, but its strength inside Sirte and the number of civilians living in the city are unclear.

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