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Battle for Bani Walid Rages in Libya

  • Scott Bobb

Fighters from around the region to joined the NTC push into Bani Walid, September, 10 2011

Fighters from around the region to joined the NTC push into Bani Walid, September, 10 2011

Libya, NATO warplanes have struck targets in areas still held by former leader Moammar Gadhafi, while anti-Gadhafi forces prepared to resume their push against several Gadhafi strongholds, one day after the expiration of a deadline for their surrender.

The NATO attacks came after forces loyal to Libya's former leader Moammar Gadhafi clashed with anti-Gadhafi fighters in the town of Bani Walid, south of Tripoli.

There were also reports of clashes in the second-largest Libyan city of Sirte, Mr. Gadhafi's birthplace, east of the capital.

Anti-Gadhafi fighters at a checkpoint between Sirte and the coastal city of Misrata said they were ready to move on Sirte and were waiting only for the order to advance.

Checkpoint commander Adel Ahmed said Sirte has been without water or electricity for days. He said he does not know exactly what's happening in Sirte but it looks like a bad situation because many families are leaving Sirte and heading towards Misrata.

The head of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, arrived in Tripoli Saturday for the first time since NTC fighters took control of the capital last month.

He told supporters that the deadline had passed for a negotiated surrender to the remaining Gadhafi strongholds, and that his forces could wait no longer.

Council forces continue to search for Mr. Gadhafi and his senior officials who fled Tripoli as the city fell.

Jalil said that what he called the Libyan revolution is not complete as long as Mr. Gadhafi is at large. He said they are not yet liberated. Gadhafi still has money and gold. Jalil says these are the things that will allow the former leader to find fighters.

The NTC says it will soon transfer interim authority operations to Tripoli from its eastern base in Benghazi. Many members of the council and its executive branch have already arrived.

Life in Tripoli has been returning to normal since the city was taken by anti-Gadhafi forces nearly three weeks ago.

Some shops are still shuttered but most businesses have re-opened.

Water and electricity supplies have been restored and the long lines around gas stations have almost disappeared.

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