75 bodies found in mass grave near Libya’s Sirte

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TRIPOLI, Oct 10, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A mass grave containing 75 bodies has
been found near the former jihadist bastion of Sirte in western Libya, an
official said Wednesday.

Mohamad al-Amial, the coastal city’s municipal council spokesman, told
AFP the mass grave was uncovered in an agricultural area of Al-Daheir, west
of Sirte.

“Seventy-five decomposed bodies were recovered” in the presence of the
public prosecutor, Sirte’s security force and the Red Crescent, he said.

Amial said the find was made “a few days ago” and that the bodies were
believed to be of Islamic State (IS) group members, although there was no
confirmation.

IS jihadists overran Sirte, 600 kilometres (375 miles) east of Tripoli,
in June 2015.

Forces of Libya’s UN-backed unity government expelled IS from the coastal
city in December 2016 after eight months of deadly combat. The group has
since pulled back to desert outposts.

It claimed responsibility for a suicide attack last month on the Tripoli
headquarters of Libya’s National Oil Corporation that killed two staffers as
well as an assault in May on the country’s electoral commission in which 14
people died.

IS took advantage of the anarchy in Libya after the NATO-backed overthrow
and killing of longtime dictator Moamer al-Kadhafi in 2011 to establish
footholds in several parts of the country.

Since their defeat in Sirte, the jihadists have kept up the fight from
rural areas of western Libya. In April, the Tripoli-based unity government
launched a campaign to flush them out.

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