LIBYAPROSPECT – Heba Mahmoud
Governmental forces battling Islamic State in Sirte discovered secret prisons the group established to detain inhabitants secretly, beside explosive factories used to make car bombs and dangerous divides.
Operation Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces discovered covert prisons inside villas and houses captured by the group inside the newly captured industrial district, where they found four Libyan prisons had been kept in deplorable conditions, reported Middle East Eye.
One of the soldiers called Hamid said “We found four Libyans imprisoned here, all from Sirte. They were in an awful condition. They had been mistreated and were close to death when we found them. They had been left with no food or water and were starving to death”. He believed that IS took other prisoners with them when they fled
The house contained about seven cells, accommodated for nearly 30 people and only four or five mattresses, with no electricity, food or water. The house is highly secured with wires and electronic cameras network.
The four Libyan prisoners were found in the smallest cells, just big enough for a mattress. The men were kept in inhumane conditions – in complete darkness.
Inside the prison, forces found English written books, used medicines, including insulin. Sheets of paper with Islamic and Arabic lessons written in English. One paper included information about abducted three Indian doctors, along with the first date of their incarceration, matching the date of the abduction of Indian doctors and teachers working in Sirte.
One Sirte former inhabitant said “IS built secret prisoners in houses and villas they capture as official ones are well known for all citizens. Hundreds of Sirte residents had disappeared during IS’s year-long reign of terror in the town; it was not known whether they were now being held in the areas of Sirte currently occupied by IS, or whether they had been killed”.
Libyan forces operating under the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) made significant advancements against IS in Sirte. Commander on the frontline in Sirte’s Zafaran district Mohamed Issa estimated that IS-occupied territory had been reduced to a maximum of 18 square kilometers.
The Governmental forces also discovered factory in Arrows area used by IS to make bomb cars, explosives and grenades using scrap metal in making car bombs to create shrapnel to make the explosion more lethal and cause the maximum damage and injuries.
One soldier called Ibrahim said, “We found a lot of explosives of the sort used in car bombs stored in several places here, This was a headquarters for IS weaponry, and they made a lot of devices and booby-traps themselves here, out of scrap metal.”
IS has relied heavily on mines, suicide bombers to halt advancements of governmental forces, and such devices have been responsible for many of the 210 deaths and over 1,000 injuries already sustained by the GNA troops.
“We never saw this kind of things when we were fighting in 2011,” said Abdul Latif Riad, a fighter confined to a Misurata hospital bed for the last five days, after shrapnel ricochetting from a mortar explosion blew apart his foot, severing two toes.
“We found that IS has specialist people who know how to prepare mines and IEDs by hand. Either these people come from outside Libya, or they have been trained how to make these devices because, in 2011, we were only dealing with face-to-face fighting, not this kind of IEDs.”