A fighter of Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government looks through an opening for Islamic State militants near the frontline of fighting, in Sirte, Libya, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
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Sheltering in tunnels, improvised bunkers and rooms fortified by sand-filled fridges, Daesh (ISIS) is holding out in the Libyan city of Sirte, defending itself with snipers, booby-traps and car bombs against pro-government forces.After a six-month campaign of often fierce street fighting, Daesh militants are surrounded in a district less than 1 kilometer square, after hundreds of U.S. airstrikes that began in August in support of Libyan forces. The battle for Sirte, taken by Daesh more than a year ago, may be over soon.Six months ago, powerful brigades from the nearby city of Misrata began a campaign to flush the militants out of Sirte, which posed a direct threat to their city. In the early days of the battle, Misrata forces suffered heavy casualties from snipers. Fighting has ebbed and flowed along with casualties as Misrata forces slowly encircled the last districts under Daesh control, leading militants to change to more hit-and-run tactics, car bombs and explosive devices. How many militants are left in Sirte is unclear.
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