The Libyan Army said yesterday that Russian mercenaries, who are fighting with the militia of renegade General Khalifa Haftar, planted mines inside and outside houses in the city of Sirte to "obstruct the advance of the army".
In a statement, the spokesperson for the Government of National Accord (GNA), Brigadier General Abdul Hadi Dara, said: "Our sources from inside the city of Sirte confirm that Russian mercenaries have planted mines inside and outside the city's houses.
Haftar's militia and its supporters previously booby-trapped houses in the liberated areas of the capital Tripoli, as well as in the city of Tarhuna, before evacuating the areas. The UN and international forces condemned the move.
Last week, the Libyan Army announced the launch of "Operation Paths of Victory" to liberate eastern and central cities and towns, including Sirte and Al-Jafra.
Backed by Arab and European countries, Haftar's militia last year launched an offensive to capture Tripoli from the internationally-recognised GNA. They were dealt a blow earlier this month when GNA forces pushed them out of the capital and recaptured vital oil fields.