Today, ISIS officially retreated from Derna city amid a heavy airstrike campaign by the Libya’s Tobruk-based government.
For months, Islamic State fighters had entrenched themselves inside Derna city at the ‘400th District’ and southern al-Fatayeh suburb.
However, ISIS fighters were forced to flee south into the vast Libyan desert due to advancing government troops.
Up until now, Derna has been the site of a three-way conflict between the Libyan government troops, Islamist militias loyal to the Shura Council (al-Qaeda linked) and ISIS fighters.
Overnight, air strikes also targeted al-Qaeda affiliated fighters in the Sayeda Khadija district of Derna city and at the Bishr prison.
While Shura Council militants are still present in Derna, Libyan government troops now control the majority of the city as ISIS fighters have fled entirely.
Sabra, a spokeman of the Libyan Army said the Islamic State had retreated because of a year-long blockade and persistent shelling on ISIS militants.
Libyan soldiers posted videos of themselves in al-Fatayeh on Thursday, saying they had taken control of the area. The capture of al-Fatayeh road will now greatly speed up delivery of food and gas to Derna.
Meanwhile, Libyan government troops are also gaining ground inside Libya’s 2nd largest city Benghazi; just a few hundred ISIS fighters remain inside its western districts for now.
If ISIS loses the battle of Benghazi, they will be pushed back to their last Libyan stronghold; the port city of Sirte in central Libya. In this region, some 5.000 Islamic State fighters are still present.
Currently, ISIS in control of approximately 5% of Libya while today’s loss in the country’s eastern province of Derna has their the Islamic State territory diminishing further more.