In Sirte, there was a lull in fighting for most of last week. Then, on 2 October, after ten early morning airstrikes launched by aircraft from Misrata’s air base academy, the Misratan-led Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces attempted a renewed assault on the remaining ISIS stronghold of Hay Al Gizah, a roughly one square kilometre residential area in the northeast of the city. BM forces suffered heavy losses: 8 fighters died and 50 were injured in the assault, although BM forces said that as many as 55 ISIS militants were killed. These figures have not been confirmed. Many ISIS militants also appear to have died during a counterattack by the group toward Sirte port. It seems ISIS fighters are still able to access and enter areas of the city controlled by BM forces. BM also said its forces were searching for another ISIS unit who were trying to make their escape out of the city.
On 2 October, Jeroen Oerlemans, a Dutch photojournalist, was killed in Sirte. He was reportedly shot in the chest by an ISIS sniper in the Al Zafaraan area of Sirte, a neighbourhood which had supposedly been liberated from ISIS forces. Oerlemans was taken from the Sirte frontline to Misrata hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.
In Benghazi, ISIS’ media arm continues to publish photo galleries of fighting between jihadists and LNA fighters. The latest batch of photographs released on 29 September showed the use of UAV’s being used to target LNA positions with 120mm mortar shells in the Amarat Al Sinya district.
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.