U.N.-backed government forces celebrate as they are close to securing last ISIS bastion in Sirte, Libya
VON PRESS Africa: Fayez al-Sarraj,, Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA)'s leader, made the announcement in a televised speech on Saturday, two weeks after a large-scale assault on the terrorist group brought the city, located 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli, under full control of forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government.
"The battle for Sirte is over but the war against terrorism in Libya is not finished," Sarraj noted.
He called on all factions and military forces to unite under "one single army," inviting different political parties in the North African country to work together to resolve the issues facing Libya.
The UN-backed government in Libya started a large-scale military operation in May to purge ISIS militants from Sirte, which is the hometown of former slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
ISIS, which had captured Sirte more than a year ago, had taken advantage of a chaos gripping Libya since 2011, when a NATO military intervention followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of Gaddafi.
Forces loyal to the GNA launched the final offensive to retake Sirte from ISIS terrorists on December 5. The city, located on the Mediterranean coast, was the main urban center that ISIS managed to seize outside Iraq and Syria.
The GNA, endorsed by the United Nations and several Western governments, has yet to fully establish its authority across Libya.