Libyan forces clear last Islamic State holdout in Sirte

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By Hani Amara

SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan forces backed by U.S. air strikes finished clearing the last Islamic State holdout in Sirte on Tuesday after a near seven-month battle for the militant group’s former North African stronghold.

The forces gained full control over a final patch of ground in Sirte’s Ghiza Bahriya district after hours of clashes. Several dozen women and children who had been holed up with the militants were able to leave the ruined buildings where they had made their last stand.

As celebrations erupted among the Libyan forces, which are dominated by brigades from the city of Misrata, a spokesman said the military campaign would continue until the wider area was secured.

Fighters fired in the air chanting “Free Libya” and “The blood of the martyrs was not for nothing.”

The loss of Sirte is a major blow for Islamic State, leaving the group without any territory in…

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