The battle for Colonel Gaddafi’s hometown, Sirte, looks to have entered its final phase with Libya’s ex-rebels launching a major assault.
Gaddafi loyalists had blocked the advance of National Transitional Council forces. But with this fresh onslaught, Libya’s new rulers now hope to seize full control.
“We have three quarters of Sirte in our hands from both eastern and western front lines,” said the NTC’s eastern front line commander, Colonel Abdel Salam Gadallah. “Both front lines have been combined and now the enemy are under siege,” he added, predicting all of the city will be under NTC control within two days.
But as commanders co-ordinated their strategy for Sirte, one of the last Gaddafi strongholds, fears were growing for civilians. Thousands have fled the war-torn city but many, notably the poor and weak, are unable to leave.