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Anti-Gadhafi Forces Say Ready to Take Pro-Gadhafi Strongholds

  • Scott Bobb

Anti-Gadhafi fighters ride a pick-up truck with an anti-aircraft gun attached to it toward Sirte, September 10, 2011

The head of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, says the deadline has passed for a negotiated surrender of three cities held by pro-Gadhafi forces - Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha. Anti-Gadhafi fighters outside Sirte, Libya's second-largest city, said they are awaiting orders to start the attack.

A checkpoint between the central Libyan city of Misrata and Sirte, the birthplace of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi.

This point is strategic because it also lies near the turnoff to another Gadhafi stronghold, Bani Walid, to the south.

Adel Ahmed commands this unit. He says his fighters are just waiting for the order to advance on Sirte, which he says has been without water or electricity for days“We do not know exactly what is happening in Sirte, but it looks like a bad situation. So we are just waiting," he said.

The fighters, all volunteers like their commander, have been camped here for several weeks. Despite the harsh conditions, morale is high.

Speaking to the fighters here, they say that they are poised to attack Sirte when given the command as well as Bani Walid, which is south of here.

The fighters say they think they could take Bani Walid in a few hours and Sirte in a couple of days. They say families have been coming out and this is why they have refrained from attacking.

The situation is a bit tense. They are ready to go, but the authorities here are trying to negotiate a surrender in order to spare civilian lives and any more destruction and loss of property.