sirte.jpg
Photograph: Google maps

The United States has dramatically increased airstrikes on the stronghold of the Islamic State terrorist organization in the Libyan city of Sirte, Rome-based La Repubblica newspaper reported Sunday, citing the Italian military.

US forces have not only increased the number of attacks, but have also increased the precision with which they are being carried out, using aircraft and drones from Sigonella airbase on Sicily and other Mediterranean bases, the report said.

"There had been a deceleration after the biggest targets had been dealt with, but now the 'killing box' has been reduced to a little more than a square kilometre, and American planes and helicopters are also attacking small groups of terrorists," the newspaper said.

Sirte is the last pocket of resistance of the terrorist group, who are now restricted to a small area of the coastal city, known as District 3, where some 170-200 fighters are holding out.

In 2015, Islamic State took control of Sirte - birthplace of former dictator Moamer Gaddafi who was overthrown in 2011 - and expanded their territory, at one point controlling a 200-kilometre stretch of the coast.

The anti-Islamic State coalition has been trying to dislodge the terrorists from Sirte for months. On Sunday, the US launched at least nine airstrikes on the city, killing two militants.

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