On 11 May, local sources from Sirte reported that ISIS fighters were seen moving in the valleys, southeast of the city. On 14 May, 20 Egyptian Coptic Christian killed by ISIS in 2015 near Sirte were returned back to Egypt.

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On the 26 April, Sirte security forces found a body in an orange jumpsuit, thought to have been killed by ISIS. It is unclear if the body was from a recent killing or from when ISIS controlled the city up until late 2016.

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On 15 February, in Tripoli Serraj dismissed the current GNA Minister of Interior al-Aref al-Khoja from his post and replaced him with his deputy minister Brigadier Abdussalam Ashour. The GNA also promoted Sabratha’s Anti ISIS Operation Room Commander Omar Abdul Jalil to Brigadier General and is actively reorganising security architecture Sirte. On 14 February, the Supreme Court in Tripoli ruled in favour of the CDA’s draft constitution.

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On 27 January, a cooperative effort began between the al-Bunyan al-Marsous Security Directorate of Sirte and the Red Crescent of Misrata to recover the bodies of ISIS fighters buried in Sirte’s neighborhood 600 and 656.

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On 11 January, a would-be ISIS bomber surrendered himself to al-Bunyan al-Marsous (BM) forces after defusing the bomb he was instructed to detonate. On 14 January, BM forces arrested an Egyptian who was allegedly hiding and transporting ISIS fugitives out of Sirte.

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Photos of GNA affiliated forces show the continual removal of ISIS IEDs from the Sirte area, while there are reports of ISIS-sympathetic telegram accounts accusing the BRSC of having a deal with the Libyan National Army.

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On 24 December, a mass gave thought to contain the bodies of as many as twenty ISIS fighters was uncovered in the al-Manara neighborhood of Sirte following a report from a local resident. Al-Manara saw the most intense clashes between ISIS and the al-Bunyan al-Marsous forces prior to the former’s defeat in the city in December 2016.

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On 3 November, Zarouk Asuiti, the head of the activation committee of security services in Sirte, stated he has received information suggesting ISIS is regrouping in the valleys south of the city. The Libyan Air Force are said to be flying Mi-35 helicopters over Nawfaliyah-Bin Jawad area following reports of ISIS activity in the area.

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On 15 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) conducted two airstrikes against an ISIS target in the desert 90km south of Harawah, southeast of Sirte. On 17 November, the US reportedly conducted a drone strike against ISIS targets in the desert south of Sirte, reportedly with success, but no information has yet been officially released.

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ISIS established temporary checkpoints 70 km south of Sirte on the road to Waddan and also near Bohadi village in the same district, on the 8 and 13 November respectively. ISIS’s claims its fighters repelled an attack by the LNA in Cyrenaica on 2 November.

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On 22 September, the US conducted an unmanned airstrike on an ISIS camp about 150 miles south-east of Sirte, reportedly killing 17 ISIS fighters and destroying 3 vehicles. ISIS’s Wilayat Barqa, published a long video last week praising the ISIS suicide car bomb attack in Nawfaliyah and the Fugha checkpoint massacres in August.  

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A team of Italian military and security advisors visited Sirte’s al-Qardabiyah airport to assess ‘reconstruction.’ The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for LNA’s Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli. There are reports that an armed security contingent for the UN is planned to offload in Khoms port.

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Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus (BM) forces have raised the level of security readiness in anticipation of an impending Islamic State (ISIS) attack on Sirte from the south and the east. GNA spokesman Mohammed al-Ghosri denied rumours that BM requested military support from the LNA and posited that the LNA’s position in Jufra may actually facilitate the presence and movement of ISIS south of Sirte.

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Misratan al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces, who nominally support the Government of National Accord (GNA), announced last week that they had skirmished with three units affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Qasr Abu Hadi, south of Sirte, while they were on an anti-ISIS reconnaissance mission in the area.

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Tactical Lessons from the Ejection of ISIS from Sirte

In the second instalment for Atlantic Council, Dr Alia Brahimi and Jason Pack discuss the tactical lessons that can be learnt from the ejection of ISIS from Sirte in December 2016. Although the authors stress that ISIS is far from defeated in Libya, the group’s loss of territorial control is significant. They argue that reliance on local anti-ISIS militia is double-edged, a light and targeted Western military footprint can be effective, and that the timing of any anti-ISIS military operation is key.

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