BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 P.M.) – The Libyan National Army’s spokesman announced full control over the city of Sirte, which is also the birthplace of the former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.

The Libyan National Army announced on Monday that it had taken control of the coastal city of Sirte after achieving a major breakthrough on the battlefield.

“The commander in chief decided on a preemptive strike that was well planned and within three hours, we were in the heart of Sirte,” the Libyan National Army spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the Libyan National Army said that it had advanced towards sites surrounding the city of Sirte in an attempt to control it.

Control of Sirte would give Haftar a significant strategic advantage, according to Reuters.

Sirte is located in the middle of the Libyan coast on the Mediterranean, and has been controlled by forces allied to the Government of National Accord since it expelled the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) terrorist organization from the city with the help of U.S. air strikes in late 2016.

The Libyan National Army added that it had taken control of areas around Sirte, including the Qardabiya Air Force Base.

This latest advance by the Libyan National Army, led by their commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, on the eve of the Turkish military’s deployment to Libya.

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