Libyan Forces Free Women And Children From Isis Captivity
Women and children who were freed from Islamic State (ISIS) captivity in recent days were taken to a hospital in nearby Misrata on Sunday (December 4) to receive medical treatment.
Over 50 children and 15 women were freed from Sirte's Ghiza Bahriya district in the past three to four days according to a spokesperson for Libyan forces, Mohamed al-Ghesry.
"The children made it out alive, and this is considered a huge fete for our forces even though we lost some of them and others were injured. We are close to freeing the Ghiza district," he said.
Many of the children suffered various injuries. Doctors and nurses were seen treating the children and giving them food and drink.
On Friday (December 2) several women blew themselves up in suicide attacks in Ghiza Bahriya killing four Libyan soldiers who had granted them safe passage to leave buildings under the control of ISIS militants
The Libyan forces, backed by U.S. air strikes, are close to taking full control of the former ISIS stronghold of Sirte after a campaign lasting more than six months. But they have had difficulty dislodging ISIS from a final patch of land near the city's Mediterranean sea front, partly because of concerns about families or captives still held by the militants.
During a pause in fighting on Friday, Reuters journalists saw one woman escorting three young children through an alleyway towards waiting Libyan forces. Shortly after the children were driven away in an ambulance there was a blast as the woman detonated explosives, wounding about a dozen people.
U.S. air strikes have continued, but ISIS has largely held its ground and even retook control of one row of buildings that had been mostly demolished in previous fighting.
As of Thursday (December 1), U.S. forces had carried out 470 air strikes on Sirte since starting their air campaign over the city on August 1, U.S. Africa Command said.
Several groups of families or hostages have been freed or escaped from ISIS in Sirte in recent weeks, some of them migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who were captured by ISIS as they crossed Libya.
ISIS took full control of Sirte in early 2015, imposing its ultra-hardline rule over the city in the months that followed. Forces led by brigades from Misrata began a campaign to retake Sirte after ISIS advanced towards their city in early May.