Libya Dawn warplanes struck Islamic State positions near Sirte on Wednesday, as the country’s rival government stepped up its efforts to win back the strategic coastal city from the global jihadi group.
The bombing targeted several sites on the coastal road between the airport and the west of the city, and near the University of Sirte, a military source told Wasat news website. In the evening they hit the headquarters of the former Sirte Security Council, located in the city center, also occupied by IS militants.
The airstrike resulted in no casualties, the source added.
Libya Dawn, an armed coalition which swept control of Tripoli last year and set up a rival administration, has been struggling to take back Sirte, after it was overrun by jihadis last week.
The city, which lies some 450km west of the capital and was once the stronghold of toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi, had been a strategic position for Dawn in its ongoing battles against troops loyal to the internationally-recognized government.
But a flourishing insurgency anchored in the east has spread west in recent months, conquering territory down the coast. Last Wednesday IS militants chased Dawn’s Brigade 166 out of the town, overrunning their main base al-Jalit Camp.
The jihadi group had already taken over key buildings within Sirte like the university and the Ouagadougou conference hall – a sprawling complex built by Colonel Gaddafi to house lavish African Union summits.
IS first appeared in Libya in October when extremists in the eastern city of Derna pledged allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It now has affiliated groups in the west and the south of the country and claimed responsibility for beheading 22 Egyptian Christians in February and the mass execution of over 30 Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians in April.