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U.S.-backed Libyan militias say Islamic State driven out of last stronghold

By Andrew V. Pestano
U.S.-backed Libyan militias say Islamic State driven out of last stronghold
Libyan militias that support a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli have been aided with airstrikes carried out by the United States against the Islamic State since Aug. 1. On Wednesday, the militias said they have driven the Islamic State out of their remaining stronghold in Libya. File Photo by Steve Allen/Shutterstock

TRIPOLI, Libya, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Libyan pro-government, U.S.-backed militias on Wednesday said they took control of the Islamic State's remaining headquarters in the city of Sirte.

The militias' offensive against the Islamic State in Sirte began in June, backed by U.S. airstrikes since Aug. 1 after weeks of stalemates.

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The militias said its fighters were still hunting down scattered Islamic State militants hiding in Sirte's residential neighborhoods -- adding that the Ouagadougou Center, a heavily fortified IS headquarters, and a nearby hospital were taken.

The United States carried out at least 28 airstrikes to aid militias in Libya. A Pentagon official told The New York Times that while he could not confirm the IS headquarters in Sirte fell, there were no reports that suggested the militia's claims were not true.

Libya's Al-Ahrar TV broadcaster posted pictures on its Twitter account of what appears to be militia fighters celebrating victory outside of the Ouagadougou Center while posing with a flag. The militia supports the Government of National Accord, a governmental authority based in Tripoli that is backed by the United Nations.

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