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  • Members of Libya's internationally recognized government forces carry weapons in Ain Zara, Tripoli, Libya October 14, 2019. Picture taken October 14, 2019.

    Members of Libya's internationally recognized government forces carry weapons in Ain Zara, Tripoli, Libya October 14, 2019. Picture taken October 14, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 January 2020
Opinion

“The commander-in-chief decided on a well-planned,pre-emptive strike and within less than three hours we were in the heart of Sirte,” said LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari.

The Libyan National Army (LNA), which is loyal to the Benghazi-based Khalifa Haftar, announced on Monday that their forces were in full control of the strategic port-city of Sirte in northern Libya.

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“The commander-in-chief decided on a well-planned,pre-emptive strike and within less than three hours we were in the heart of Sirte,” said LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari. “It was a sudden, swift operation,” he said, adding that the advance had been preceded by several hours of air strikes.

"[The LNA] has also taken control of as-Saadi military base, some city areas, and is now heading to the city centre," the source, which is close to the LNA's spokesperson, Ahmed Al-Mismari, said in a statement following the capture of the city.

Speaking to the Reuters News Agency on Monday, a source from the LNA said that their forces were able to take hold of Sirte after the militias from the city of Misrata withdrew from the area.

The Misrata militias, which are loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, have been one of the major forces along the coast since the Islamic State was defeated in late 2016. 

In a phone conversation with Reuters during the battle, a resident from Sirte said: “We can see convoys of LNA inside Sirte city ... they control large parts of the city now. We also hear gunfire.”

Sirte is also the birthplace of the late Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, who ruled the North African Nation for over 40 years. 

The late Libyan President was killed inside of Sirte while leading his troops against the anti-government forces in 2011. 

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