In Sirte last week, the Misratan-led Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces started a slow advance on the ‘Hay al-Jiza al-Bahriya’ area, and the ‘600 flats’ residential area. They came under sustained fire from Islamic State (ISIS) snipers positioned on the roofs of the flats, as well as being targeted by several suicide bombers in vehicles. On 7 September, Libyan air force jets from the Misrata airbase launched airstrikes targeting the ‘600 flats’ and ‘al-Jiza al-Bahriya’ areas, supported by American airstrikes. The last remnants of ISIS are now reportedly cornered in these areas after losing most of their positions in the urban areas of Sirte over the past two weeks. The fighting calmed down on 9 September as BM forces consolidated control over liberated areas and defused explosive ordinance, but resumed on 12 September, the first day of Eid al-Adha, with ISIS announcing it had killed six BM fighters.
In Misrata, a security checkpoint at the city’s eastern gate arrested two alleged ISIS members on 7 September, one from al-Khoms in western Libya and the other from Sudan. Their vehicle was reportedly already rigged with explosives and headed to Misrata’s air force base for a suicide mission.
In response to the LNA’s takeover of the ports in the oil crescent on 11 September, the UN Envoy to Libya, the EU and the governments of USA, Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy all issued statements on 12 September condemning the LNA’s seizure of the ports and reiterating their intent to ‘enforce UNSCR 2259, including measures concerning illicit oil exports, activities which could damage the integrity and unity of Libyan State financial institutions and the NOC, and individuals and entities engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the unity, peace, stability or security of Libya’. The joint statement from the 6 governments also stressed that ‘Libyan forces should unite in fighting Da’esh and other UN-designated terrorist groups’ rather than fighting other political factions.