Libya’s NTC Chief: Gadhafi Strongholds Could Fall Within Days

Posted October 10th, 2011 at 4:40 am (UTC-5)
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The head of Libya's provisional government says he expects the last strongholds of those loyal to former leader Moammar Gadhafi to fall within the week, as clashes continue in Mr. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte.

National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Sunday anti-Gadhafi fighters have made huge gains in Sirte and Bani Walid, southeast of the capital.

In Sirte, NTC fighters say they control convention center buildings that Gadhafi loyalists had used as their main base of operation. They also claim to have seized Sirte's main hospital and university, after launching an assault on the city on Friday.

More than 30 NTC fighters have been killed in the three days of fighting, with more than 400 others wounded. The number of loyalist casualties was not known.

NTC officials say the capture of Sirte will allow them to declare the country liberated, because it will mean the provisional government controls all of the country's ports and harbors.

Sirte is 360 kilometers east of Libya's capital, Tripoli, and has served as a center of support for Mr. Gadhafi. Anti-Gadhafi fighters have been trying to move into the city for three weeks.