Fierce clashes in Gaddafi Bastions
Fierce clashes between Libya’s new regime forces and Muammar Gaddafi’s diehards were ongoing in Sirte Tuesday, with National Transitional fighters moving in for the kill against Gaddafi remaining loyalists.
- Gaddafi loyalists were putting up fierce resistance as the NTC forces were battling house by house towards the heart of the fallen leader's hometown.
In other Gaddafi bastion, Bani Walid, diehards mounted a fightback, killing 17 National Transitional Council fighters, the new regime announced on Monday.
The interim ruling NTC has been waiting for Sirte's full capture to declare the liberation of the whole of Libya, clearing the way to draw up a timetable for elections.
- Commander for the NTC forces at Sirte's eastern front, Wissam bin Ahmid, said the fighters were close to overrunning the entire city of Sirte but still feared for the safety of many civilians too scared to flee the fighting.
"There remains still two square kilometres (0.8 square mile) to take to free the city completely," Ahmid told AFP news agency.
"There are still some snipers. But our main worry are the families still in the city who are too afraid to leave their houses as the snipers are using them as firing posts," he said.
On Monday, the third day of what NTC commanders had touted as a final assault, the new regime said its troops captured Sirte's showpiece conference center, university campus and hospital on Sunday.
However, the military gains came at a heavy price, with medics reporting 13 dead and 90 wounded on the western side of Sirte alone.
The bodies of another four NTC fighters were recovered from the city's Ibn Sina hospital following its capture.
- Ennaharonline/ Agencies