A year after the Islamic State (IS) terror group lost Sirte, its former stronghold in Libya, the remaining terrorists are moving in the desert areas near the city in an attempt to regroup.
Forces of the Libyan UN-backed government last year announced taking control of the entire city, some 450 km east of Tripoli, following an eight-month war against IS affiliates that killed more than 700 soldiers and injured 3,000 others, reports Xinhua news agency.
Taha Hadid, a spokesman for Sirte's Security Force, said the city was recovering greatly, but there was fear that IS is regrouping while continuing to recruit new members.
"We know very well that head of the IS immigration bureau, Khabib Al-Darnawi, is still recruiting new members. He is a wanted man who is still moving with the remaining fighters in Sirte and Jufra desert," Hadid told Xinhua.
"We found IS belongings and clothes of African migrants in the valley and desert areas of Sirte. This is evidence that IS is exploiting these simple people and persuading them to join."
He warned of the risk of underestimating the terrorists' ability to launch sudden attacks on any military forces present in Sirte, in an attempt to cause more losses and give themselves a moral victory after their defeat last year.
Sirte is one of the IS most active areas, given its rugged valley terrain.
The remaining terrorists are also moving in southern Libya, given the vast area, which makes it difficult to monitor their movement, officials said.