LIBYAPROSPECT – Aya Khalil
Field sources in Sabratha security forces and residents said that the absence of security coordination during a raid on homes in the city eased the movements of elements of the Islamic State group (IS), and their control over the city center and a number of public facilities, Al-Araby Al-Jadid Website reported.
The report, which LIBYAPROSPECT translates, states that the support force attacked some houses in the city on Tuesday noon claiming that the IS members exist there, based on information presented by deter forces in Tripoli. Sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadid that the IS fighters had prior knowledge about the raid and replied with heavy shooting once the operation started, which opened several fight fronts.
A Colonel who took part in the fight told Al-Araby Al-Jadid that when different fight fronts were opened security forces were confused, which forced the forces to retreat in front of the IS fighters. “We lost five fighters of the city youth and 4 police staff, when the group fighters broke into the security administration” he said.
The officer added that “the valley” battalion and another one, affiliated to a rebel, named Ahmed Al-Awo and youth took part in the fight that became difficult due to the sleeper cells of the IS. They were able then to control the city center and the security administration, and some government facilities, and attempt to takeover the city hospital.
The source added that they had to cure the wounded in close homes to the fight scene. He added that a total of 16 persons were killed in the clashes.
An eye witness said that “when we heard the gun fire, we knew that there was a fight between the rebels’ battalions and the IS fighters. We went out to the streets where we saw military movements, and nearly 10pm yesterday, the cite center was controlled and the IS black flags were raised over buildings. Sabratha local radio station was closed too.”
He guessed that the IS elements controlled the radio HQ as residents noted that an IS member holding the group’s flag was on top of a building named “Abu Sabie” which is well known building to the people of Sabratha.
He explained to Al-Araby Al-Jadid that the IS put snipers on top of high buildings in downtown after controlling it. The battle ended, according to security sources, by the arrival of security battalions from Al-Zawia city, which pushed elements of the IS to retreat and flee. Security forces confirmed that the absence of security coordination during the raids on houses caused the sudden attack by the elements of the group on Sabratha city center.