Libya’s ex-rebels, backed by NATO warplanes, have stormed the city of Sirte.
But as anti-Gaddafi fighters swarm into the ousted leader’s hometown, they are facing heavy sniper fire from loyalists of the former regime.
Forces from the National Transitional Council say they have been shot at from rooftops and from the minarets of mosques. They have moved in from several directions, aware that taking Sirte would boost the new provisional government, giving it greater credibility.
NTC fighters had previously retreated from Sirte and the other final Gaddafi bastion Bani Walid after poorly-organised assaults met fierce resistance.
As the manhunt for the elusive deposed leader continues, an audio message from his daughter Aisha said Gaddafi was in high spirits. She has fled to Algeria but said her father was carrying a weapon and fighting alongside his sons on the front.