The Government of National Accord’s Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus operation room continued to make significant strides against ISIS this week, advancing to within two kilometres southwest of Sirte, and forcing ISIS to retreat towards the city. However, this does not mean that a frontal assault on Sirte is imminent. Despite its recent losses, ISIS is still rumoured to have sleeper cells in and around Surman, Misrata and Sabratha.
Sirte’s port is reportedly becoming a key base for ISIS to smuggle weapons and personnel out of the city. The port was targeted by GNA-affiliated airstrikes this week, originating from Misrata’s airbase, while other local reports (yet unconfirmed) say that the naval gunship Al Hares was mobilised to block ISIS from using port waters. ISIS’s control of coastline has now been reduced to approximately 100 kilometres between Sirte and Harawah. Meanwhile, ISIS sleeper cells are still suspected to be hiding in Misrata. Twelve such individuals were arrested on 3 June, reportedly planning attacks inside Misrata during Ramadan.
A weekly update of ISIS’s actions, the Western response, and developments pertaining to Libya’s other militias is available by subscribing here. To read about Western countries’ responses to ISIS in Libya this week, click here. To read the Eye on ISIS in Libya Team’s blog post about the actions of other jihadi actors, click here. And to read their explanation of the developments within the anti-ISIS Coalition of Libyan militias, click here.