In Sirte, ISIS forces are still confined within the coastal residential districts of Hay Al-Gizah and 600 Flats, a small enclave of two to three square kilometres in the east of the city. ISIS fighters have heavily barricaded this area with sand blockades and trenches. On 22 September, intense clashes took place after Misratan-led Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces attempted a renewed push into the ISIS stronghold. BM forces suffered heavy losses: 8 fighters died and 50 were injured in the assault. The BM media centre reported neutralising three ISIS suicide vehicles before they hit their targets. The remaining ISIS fighters in Sirte are proving difficult to dislodge due to their effective use of IEDs and VBIEDs.
On the early morning of 23 September, ISIS fighters conducted a surprise assault against BM forces positioned in Sirte port. The assault was repelled after a few hours, and the ISIS militants withdrew to their strongholds in eastern Sirte. On 24 September, local media sources reported 4 suicide vehicle attack attempts by ISIS against BM forces, but these have not yet been confirmed by the GNA-affiliated forces.
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.