“Libyan forces battled to clear Islamic State insurgents”

Libyan forces battled to clear Islamic State insurgents from the western city of Sabratha on Thursday, in fighting that killed at least three Libyans and one of the militants, officials said. Islamic State has gained ground rapidly in Libya in the last year, controlling the city of Sirte and attacking oil ports, as it takes advantage of the conflict between the country’s two rival governments and their armed factions. U.S. warplanes hit Islamic State in Sabratha last week, a sign of growing Western engagement against the militant group in Libya as it expands beyond its original territory in Iraq and Syria. Fighting began in Sabratha on Tuesday, when militants stormed into the city, beheading 11 local security men before retreating after clashes with local Sabratha brigades. Islamic State is also fighting in Benghazi to the east. “A military operation has been started to wipe out the militants of Islamic State in Sabratha,” Sabratha municipal council major Hussein al-Thwadi told Reuters. “At least three of our fighters have been killed and ten wounded.” A militant commander was captured on Thursday, Thwadi said. A would-be Islamic State suicide bomber was also killed, before he could set off his explosives”.

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