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Fears for civilians caught in the battle for Sirte

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Fears for civilians caught in the battle for Sirte


The protracted battle for Libya’s symbolic town of Sirte has not eased. Gains for the National Transitional Council include the main hospital and the university.

Now they say they have cornered fighters loyal to ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi in the centre of his home town. NTC forces have claimed repeatedly to be on the point of victory only to suffer reversals at the hands of their enemy.

“We attacked Sirte from all fronts, yesterday. We raked the area around the Ouagadougou Conference Palace. We had clashes with the enemy forces and have surrounded them in the Mauritaniens district,” said one fighter.

Despite claims by NTC commanders they were deploying only light arms, tanks were seen pounding the positions of Gaddafi loyalists.

The main hospital now under the control of the revolutionary fighters has been badly damaged. It is struggling to cope with the number of patients; many lie on the floor to protect themselves from the shelling and gunfire.

The number of civilian injuries has raised concerns that it could breed long term hostility towards the National Transitional Council and their aims to unite Libya.

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