TRIPOLI, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Tuesday praised release of Libyan hostages kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) militants in southern Libya.
"UNSMIL welcomes the release of 20 Libyans reportedly kidnapped by IS from Fug'ha and Tazirbu," the mission said in a statement.
"This is another strong example that Libyans, when they join forces, can defeat terrorism and overcome the challenges as well as ordeals facing their country," the statement said.
According to spokesman of the eastern-based Libyan army Ahmad al-Mesmari, the army had launched an attack on IS militants in southern Libya and freed hostages detained by the terrorists.
"In a qualitative operation, army units eliminated IS militants and freed the hostages of Fug'ha and Tazirbu in Ghadwa area, 70 km south of Sabha city," al-Mesmari said in his official Facebook page.
IS militants in November carried out separate attacks against the police station and a number of government buildings in Tazirbu, killing eight people, injuring more than 15 others and taking dozens of hostages.
In October, the militants attacked the central town of Fug'ha in the Jufra District, some 650 km southeast of the capital Tripoli, killing five people and taking several hostages.