Libya officially declares liberation of Sirte from IS terror group

Libya’s unity government leader Fayez al-Sarraj on Saturday officially announced the end of military operations in Sirte, after the liberation from ISIS group forces of what was the last significant territory they held in the country. However prime minister-designate Sarraj warned that the battle against the militants was not over.

Eight months after the start of the operations against ISIS in the coastal town of Sirte “I officially announce the end of military operations and the liberation of the town”, Sarraj said in a televised speech two weeks after the announcement that the area was in control of forces loyal to the government.

The capture of Sirte, first announced on December 5, boosts the authority of Sarraj’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which was launched in Tripoli in March but whose legitimacy is contested by a rival administration based in eastern Libya.

Sarraj made the announcement on Sirte on the first anniversary of the signing of a peace agreement in Morocco. “The battle for Sirte is over but the war against terrorism in Libya is not finished,” he warned, stressing the need to unify the various military forces into “one single army”.

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