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Breaking News: Former Minister of Labour Mohamed Swalm Killed In ISIS Clashes

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

Mohamed Swalm, Libya’s former Minister of Labour was killed during a battle against ISIS forces near the region of Wadi Allowd on Saturday.

Swalm was appointed Minister of Labour and Retraining from November 2012 to March 2014 in the cabinet of former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.

Zeidan was was elected by the General National Congress (GNC) in October 2012 as Libya’s first post-war Prime Minister after the 2011 ousting of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Colonel Mohamed Azadina, an official from the Government of National Accord’s operations room, said that Libyan forces have moved forward from Al Jufra where they came into clashes with ISIS forces near the Al-Baghla Gate.

“There have been losses and injuries in these clashes, reinforcements are coming into the areas of these clashes,” said Azadina in a statement on the operation room’s Facebook page.

On Wednesday, 32 soldiers were killed and 50 were injured in clashes with ISIS forces as the Libyan military advanced toward the extremist group’s stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte.

Seven soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack in Buairat el-Hassun, 60 kilometres west of Sirte, and 25 soldiers were killed further west in Abu Grein.

Hours after the deadly attack, the GNA called on the international community to lift the arms embargo and provide it with arms without delay so that its military is properly equipped to battle ISIS.

According to the operation room’s Facebook page, those wounded in Wednesday’s clashes were transported to neighbouring countries to receive medical treatment for their injuries.

Eleven soldiers were sent to Turkey and 29  soldiers were sent to Tunisia to receive treatment, and those in critical condition were airlifted to Malta or Turkey for medical aid.

The hospital in Misrata is suffering from a shortage of medicine and medical supplies, according to a statement by The Libyan Organization for Peace, Care and Relief (LOPCR) to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

ISIS militants overran the Abu Grein checkpoint on May 5, which marks their most recent attempts at advancing into territory controlled by the unity government. The surprise suicide attacks prompted the GNA to establish its military campaign, called “Albunyan Almarsos” or Operation Strong Foundation, in Misrata against the terrorist group’s stronghold in Sirte.

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