Libya’s NTC Fighters Face Strong Resistance in Two Towns

Posted September 17th, 2011 at 11:01 am (UTC-5)
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Libya's National Transitional Council fighters have made another attempt to gain control of the town of Sirte, after they were stopped Friday by forces loyal to former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The NTC fighters regrouped on Saturday and launched a new assault on Mr. Gadhafi's hometown, where loyalists to the former president hit back with rockets and other artillery.

The NTC fighters are also facing stiff resistance in Bani Walid, another stronghold for Gadhafi loyalists.

The former leader's whereabouts remain unknown. However, Reuters news quotes Mr. Gadhafi's spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, as saying the former leader is still in Libya. Ibrahim also said Saturday that more than 350 people had been killed in Sirte when NATO airstrikes hit civilian buildings but the claim has not been independently verified.

Meanwhile, Turkey says it is parachuting 22 tons of humanitarian aid into the town of Bani Walid, another stronghold for pro-Gadhafi forces. The government said Saturday the aid is for civilians in the region who are in urgent need of help.

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Libya in a show of support for the fledgling government.

Also Friday, the United Nations Security Council lifted some sanctions and eased others on Libya. The move took place hours after Libya's seat in the U.N. General Assembly was given to the National Transitional Council.