A Dutch photojournalist was shot dead in Libya on Sunday (2 October) by a sniper believed to be an Islamic State (Isis) militant, the photographer's employer and a Libyan commander have said.

Jeroen Oerlemans, 45, was working along with fighters loyal to Libya's unity government when he was killed. Several pro-government fighters were also killed in the onslaught. He was working in an area which was recently freed from IS (Daesh) terrorists.

Dr Akram Gliwan, a spokesperson for a hospital in Misrata, told AFP that Oerlemans was "shot in the chest by an IS sniper".

His death was also confirmed by Knack, the Belgian publication the photojournalist worked for in Libya. In 2012, the 45-year-old was kidnapped by Islamic extremists along with British photographer John Cantlie, who were both freed a week later.

Mohammed Ghasri, a spokesperson for the command centre that leads pro-government forces in Sirte said that the fighting on Sunday was the heaviest since the militia allied to the unity government in Misrata started an effort to oust terrorists from Sirte in May, Wall Street Journal reported.

He added that along with the journalist at least 8 fighters from Misrata were also killed. Fighting continued from an area known as District 3, one of the last remaining areas in the port city that is controlled by IS.

Post the assault, the ultra-hard line Sunni militant group claimed online that they mounted a "surprise operation" in that area which claimed 15 lives and injured many others, SITE Intelligence group that monitors online extremist activity said.

Meanwhile, Dutch Ambassador to Libya tweeted saying: "Rest in Peace. Your photographs of #Sirte #Libya and other places will live on forever."

In a statement, Netherlands Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said: "Oerlemans is a journalist who kept going where others stopped. Driven to put the news into pictures in the world's hotspots. It is profoundly sad that he has now paid the ultimate price for this."

According to the Eike den Hertog of the Beeldunie photo agency, he's survived by a wife and three children.

Fighters, supporters of the Libyan Government of National Accord, rest near a destroyed building during a battle against the Islamic State (IS) group at the frontline in Sirte [picture for representation] Fabio Bucciarelli/ AFP