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Libya: NTC troops intensify assault on Sirte

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Libya: NTC troops intensify assault on Sirte

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Troops from the new Libyan administration have made one of their biggest assaults yet on Sirte, the hometown of the deposed leader Muammar Gadaffi.

Close to a hundred pick-up trucks mounted with heavy weapons swept into a residential district on the southern side of the city.

But they were forced to head for cover when they encountered withering counter fire from pro-Gadaffi fighters.

The Gadaffi loyalists have been squeezed ever closer towards the centre of the city where the two sides are battling for control in often chaotic street-by-street gun-fights.

Government forces say they have changed the way their dealing with snipers. Instead of sending in teams on foot, they are identifying the hideouts from a distance and using long-range heavy weapons to destroy the buildings.

Sirte has symbolic significance as Gadaffi’s home, but some commanders say the fighting is so fierce because they believe one of his sons is still in hiding in the city.