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Rebels close in on Gaddafi hometown

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Rebels close in on Gaddafi hometown


Libyan rebel forces are closing in on Muammar Gaddafi’s home base of Sirte after capturing the eastern town of Bin Jawad.

On Sunday they rejected an offer by the deposed Libyan leader to negotiate a handover of power, instead they advanced on the town which is believed to hold large numbers of his supporters and significant military installations. NATO says Gaddafi’s army has fired several Scud missiles from Sirte.

One rebel fighter said “ We are able to take it by force, but it would be better if they surrendered but if they refuse, we are capable of sweeping them away.”

But observers are concerned that fighting in Sirte could be bloodier than in Tripoli.

While the rebels are trying to mop up the remnants of Gaddafi loyalists, their leaders have refused to allow the extradition of the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is said to be in a coma at his Tripoli villa, where he is being cared for by family members. It is believed he is close to death after his cancer medication was stolen in the chaos of the civil war.

He is the only person convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland. His release from prison two years ago on health grounds angered some of the victim’s relatives who want to see him back in jail.

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