RELIGION

UN: Islamic State fighters face possible defeat in Libya

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Islamic State fighters in Libya are facing the "distinct possibility" of defeat in their last stronghold and are likely to scatter elsewhere in the North African country and the region.

The U.N. chief said in a new report to the U.N. Security Council that member states estimate there are between 2,000 and 7,000 IS fighters from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Mauritania.

Ban says one member state recently reported between 3,000 and 4,000 IS fighters in Sirte, the extremist group's last bastion along Libya's northern coast.

But he said as a result of the recent offensive against IS, by forces aligned with the U.N.-brokered government, "the current number of those in Sirte is now likely well under 1,000."