Libya’s new government is facing a credibility test over the difficulties its forces face to take control of the two key strongholds of Muammar Gaddafi.
A spokesman for the former Libyan leader said on Thursday that 151 civilians had been killed in Sirte in the previous 36 hours, as pro-government forces attempted to take the town and the other northern Gaddafi bastion of Bani Walid.
As journalists are unable to reach the city, it is difficult to verify the claims.
Despite the delays in capturing the northern cities, forces from the National Transitional Council confirmed that they now control a string of desert towns in Libya’s deep south including the city of Sabha.
Meanwhile the UN atomic agency revealed on Thursday that Libya’s previous government had stored raw uranium near Sabha.
An IAEA spokesperson in Vienna confirmed that so-called ‘yellow cake’ was kept in drums at the site, which seemed to contradict a earlier US statement which suggested the material was kept closer to the capital Tripoli.