Forces of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos (Solid Structure) mostly from Misrata clashed last night with Islamic State terrorists near the IS stronghold Sirte at the Gardabiya base and also in the town of Buhadi.
Senior leaders report that they are close to taking the base and the town. The forces also shelled the city itself for the first time with heavy artillery hitting the neighborhoods of Al-Zaafaran and Al-Gharaibat.
A Mig airplane from Misrata crashed yesterday. The IS claims it was shot down. Misrata authorities said it was due to mechanical failure. The planes are very old as most of the Libyan air force was destroyed during the uprising against Gadaffi. The pilot was not killed but returned safely to the airbase at Misrata.
The steam plant which had already been occupied earlier was counter-attacked by IS. The IS has used bomb vehicles with suicide bombers against advancing troops causing numerous casualties.
On Wednesday, the Libyan Gazette reported that 10 Solid Structure soldiers had been killed and 45 wounded in clashes around Sirte.
On the eastern front, forces of the Petroleum Facilities Guard(PFG) took control of the town of Al-Naufileya east of Ben Jawad that was captured earlier. Engineering teams were busy demining the two towns. Spokesperson for the PFG Ali Al-Hassi said that IS forces had retreated to Harawa a town just 50 kilometers east of Sirte. Al-Naufileya is 120 kilometers east of Sirte.
Prime Minister Faiez Serraj of the UN-backed Government of National Accord(GNA) claimed that the GNA had united various armed factions and that its forces were now capable of eradicating the Islamic State without the aid of foreign troops. However, there are already some UK special forces at work on the eastern front against IS. Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, associated with the rival House of Representatives (HoR) government based in Tobruk has refused to join as part of a unified command under the GNA.
He does not recognize the GNA and is opposed to many of their militias. He began his own military campaign marching towards Sirte weeks ago but has not yet fought against them but has stood by as the PFG began action on the eastern front. The PFG supports the GNA.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.