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Anti-Gaddafi fighters say they make gains in Sirte

Libyan forces from Misrata said they wrested control of key buildings in Moammar Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte from his supporters after several days of intense street fighting that left scores dead and wounded.

The Misratan fighters seized Ouagadougou Hall, a complex being used by Gaddafi loyalists as a base, and the city’s main Ibn Sina hospital, the Misrata Military Council said in statements late Monday.

Misratan forces advanced on Sirte from the west, while units of armed forces loyal to the National Transitional Council marched from the east and other groups came from the south to end several weeks of fighting that began when negotiations on Sirte’s surrender broke down early last month.

Sirte, about 300 miles east of Tripoli, is a strategic town linking the eastern and western parts of the country. It is one of the last major strongholds of Gaddafi loyalists, and a new government to see Libya through to elections won’t be announced until a month after it is fully under NTC control.

Senior NTC officials attribute the tenacity of the Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte in part to the possibility that one of the former leader’s sons, Mutassim, is hiding out there. They also say that the loyalists are holding out for fear of retaliation.

— Bloomberg News



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