The Wall Street Journal reports: Forces fighting for the United Nations-backed Libyan government said Monday they had seized the security headquarters in Sirte, a crucial step toward retaking control of the coastal city that Islamic State captured more than a year ago.
Sirte is the militant group’s most important base outside its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, and its fighters have put up stiff resistance since the initial drive by government-allied forces into the city in late May.
But Libyan commanders said Monday they had shrunk Islamic State’s area of control around Sirte, the birthplace of late dictator Moammar Gadhafi, from 150 miles of coastline to just two square miles in the city center. U.S. and Libyan intelligence officials earlier this year estimated some 5,000 militants were inside Sirte, though they say the number has dwindled.
“We’re slowly tightening our grip on them,” a senior Libyan officer said.
The security headquarters in Sirte is a complex in a part of the city that the forces backing the government have been trying to enter for weeks. [Continue reading…]