By Ajnadin Mustafa and Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 23 February 2016:
IS fighters have this evening attacked Sabratha and there were unconfirmed reports that they ha taken . . .[restrict]several key positions including the main hospital in confused fighting with the local Alwadi Brigade.
There are reports that Libya Dawn units from Zawia and Janzour along with members of Tripoli’s Rada Security Force are all heading west to support the Sabrathans. It is even being claimed that troops from Zintan are moving north toward the town.
Little is clear at the moment. However it seems that in the wake of last Friday’s US airstrikes, the Sabrathan authorities began moving against the remnants of IS in and around the town, whose presence had long been officially denied.
The Sabratha Media Centre is tonight claiming that while its local forces were in the south of the town in search of terrorists, between 100 and 150 IS fighters took advantage of the security vacuum in the centre of the town and moved in. Among the buildings reportedly seized, and on which black IS flags have been raised, are the police station, banks and the hospital. The last is close to Sabratha’s extensive ancient ruins.
“’They suddenly came out in the evening and attacked places in the centre of town” said one local, adding “It is a large group of of Libyans and Tunisians’. Military officials in the town, though, have denied the reports.
The Media Centre later claimed that the authorities were regaining control. However, many of the anguished responses generated by the message from some 50 social media users, claimed that they were cut off by the fighting.
The centre said forces from the local military council had overrun an IS position in the south of the town killing four terrorists, identified as young Tunisians, but losing four of their own militiamen as well. It added that the remaining IS fighters had escaped. At least one other Sabrathan has been killed and ten injured.
The Centre has put out a call for security personnel to report for duty and for doctors and nurses to help with the wounded. [/restrict]