Libya’s NTC Plans New Assault on Gadhafi Stronghold

Posted September 17th, 2011 at 9:26 am (UTC-5)
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Libya's National Transitional Council fighters are regrouping for another assault on the town of Sirte, a day after they were beaten back by forces loyal to former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

NTC fighters gathered Saturday on the outskirts of the town, which is Mr. Gadhafi's birthplace.

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 were 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.