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Heavy fighting in Gaddafi strongholds in Libya

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Heavy fighting in Gaddafi strongholds in Libya


In Libya, interim government forces have encountered strong resistance in the towns still loyal to the ousted leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s spokesman has told a news agency that 354 people were killed in a NATO air strike on Sirte last night. Whether this is true or not is impossible to tell.

In Bani Walid, another Gaddafi stronghold, there were chaotic scenes as injured fighters were rushed to a field hospital. They say they were ambushed by pro-Gaddafi forces 20 kilometres outside the town.

This is raising fears that Libya could be facing a protracted insurgency of the sort that has played out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pro-Gaddafi forces still hold a swathe of the country along the central coast and into the southern desert, more than three weeks after the fall of Tripoli and their leader’s exit.

Interim government forces met stiff resistance in Mahruqua in the south. They eventually prevailed and set about destroying the civic symbols of Gaddafi’s rule including a monument to the deposed leader’s Green Book, the document outlining his political philosophy.

TV cameras captured images of one of the men seized during the battle for the town as he was taken away, suspected of being a mercenary.

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