Libya’s ex-rebels have renewed their battle for the last pockets of resistance loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
But supporters of the ousted leader are putting up a fierce fight, with powerful explosions and machinegun fire in the besieged town of Bani Walid.
Commander Absalam Gnuna from the ruling National Transitional Council said his forces’ strategy includes helping some families inside the town to escape.
The ill-organised fighters have also met strong resistance from defenders of Gaddafi’s other last bastions, Sebha, and his hometown of Sirte.
Intense clashes in and around that coastal city have raged for days with reports of Libyan fighters battling street by street to take control. Residents have described water and electricity shortages, saying people are living in terror.
Gaddafi remains nowhere to be found, nearly a month after his forces were driven out of Tripoli.
But the ex-rebels seem relaxed and confident of victory, even if it is taking longer than some expected.