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Libyan fighters pour into Gaddafi strongholds

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Libyan fighters pour into Gaddafi strongholds


Around a thousand anti-Gaddafi forces have entered Bani Walid, one of the last strongholds of the former Libyan dictator. A further convoy of tanks and armed trucks was also seen heading towards Sirte, Gaddafi’s birthplace and another of the few remaining towns where troops loyal to him are holding out. National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters entered the town on Thursday.

Explosions and gunfire have been heard in Bani Walid, while in Sirte interim government forces were reported to have captured the airport from Gaddafi loyalists.

Outside Bani Walid, NTC fighters say they came under attack by troops attempting to stop their advance.

There has been a tense standoff around both cities, with the Gaddafi loyalists refusing to surrender, despite deadlines to do so.

What is proving to be complicated for the interim government is the danger of civilians becoming caught up in the fighting.

The ongoing conflict is not deterring Libyan refugees from returning home, however.

Cars are queueing up to get back into Libya from Tunisia, where many people fled when the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi began.

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