Ongoing Clashes in Gadhafi Stronghold Kill 3 in Libya

Posted September 10th, 2011 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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Provisional government fighters in Libya continued to fight Moammar Gadhafi loyalists Saturday in the former leader's stronghold of Bani Walid.

The National Transitional Council said three of its fighters were killed Saturday, and a VOA correspondent in the city said rockets from Gadhafi forces and snipers continued to ring out in the area.

The NTC said its fighters entered Bani Walid Friday because loyalists fired a barrage of rockets at them. They said one NTC fighter and at least three Gadhafi fighters died in the ensuing street battles.

Earlier this week, provisional authorities gave Mr. Gadhafi's loyalists until Saturday to surrender from their few remaining strongholds. The NTC said it wanted to avoid military action that could harm civilians.

NATO said Friday it had carried out air strikes near Bani Walid that destroyed two Scud missiles that were part of Mr. Gadhafi's arsenal.

Skirmishes between loyalist and provisional fighters also took place Friday in Mr. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte.

Separately Friday, a senior general and other officials who were part of Mr. Gadhafi's government crossed into Niger.

News organizations quoted officials in Niger as saying General Ali Kana and several other high-ranking officials were part of a group of about a dozen people who entered the country Friday.

Kana was in charge of Mr. Gadhafi's troops in southern Libya. He is a Tuareg, the dominant tribe in northern Niger.

On Wednesday, Niger's justice minister said 18 people had entered the country from Libya in recent days, but that Mr. Gadhafi was not among them.

The NTC sent envoys to Niger in an effort to prevent the fugitive former leader and his associates from leaving Libya.

Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam and Libya's former intelligence chief .

The international police agency said Friday that it issued a “red notice” calling on all countries to help locate the three men and place them under arrest. Their current whereabouts are unknown.