Fighters loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) walk down the stairs of a liberated building in Sirte, September 28, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
At least 18 people have been killed in clashes between Daesh Takfiri terrorists and forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the coastal city of Sirte.
GNA military sources said the violent clashes broke out as the terrorists were withdrawing from their besieged stronghold in the city on Sunday.
The GNA said in a statement that at least 10 terrorists had been killed in the volatile city, which is located about 450 kilometers east of the capital, Tripoli.
"Our forces exterminated a group from the Daesh gang that were trying to escape," the statement read.
Pro-government forces said they were "progressing" in Sirte, forcing some Daesh terrorists to try to escape.
According to the Facebook page of a field hospital set up by GNA forces in Sirte, eight soldiers loyal to the government were killed during the clashes. At least two dozen members of pro-GNA forces were also wounded and transferred to the main hospital in the nearby city of Misrata.
On Saturday, air force units of the GNA carried out a series of strikes against pockets of Daesh in preparation for an advance on a hideout of the terrorists in the city's east. 
The UN-backed government in Libya started a large-scale military operation in May to purge Daesh from Sirte, which is the hometown of the country's former slain dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
Smoke rises after an airstrike on District 3 of Sirte, Libya, September 28, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Bombings and sniper fire, however, have slowed down the operation to retake Sirte.
Figures show about 450 pro-government fighters have been killed and 2,500 wounded since the Sirte operation began.
Daesh, which captured Sirte last year, had taken advantage of a chaos gripping Libya since 2011, when a NATO military intervention followed the uprising that led to the toppling and killing of Gaddafi.

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