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Libya's Provisional Fighters Expand Control of Former Gadhafi Stronghold


NTC fighters celebrate after capturing an armored vehicle in Wadi Dinar, Libya, Sept. 21, 2011.

NTC fighters celebrate after capturing an armored vehicle in Wadi Dinar, Libya, Sept. 21, 2011.

Fighters with Libya's National Transitional Council, or NTC, are claiming control of the town of Sabha, one of the few remaining strongholds for loyalists to Moammar Gadhafi.

The NTC said Thursday that its forces have gained control of all districts of the southern town but still face pockets of resistance from snipers.

Provisional authority fighters said Wednesday that they had overcome Gadhafi loyalists in many parts of the town, 750 kilometers south of Tripoli.

However, NTC fighters are still wrestling for control of Mr. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte and the desert town of Bani Walid. The NTC forces have been facing stiff resistance from armed loyalists of Mr. Gadhafi in both towns.

Meanwhile, Tunisia has sentenced former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi to six months in prison for illegally entering the country. Tunisian authorities say they arrested the Gadhafi-era official in a border region late Wednesday.

In another development, NATO announced it is extending operations in Libya for another three months. Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday the alliance is determined to continue its mission "for as long as necessary."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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