Libya’s NTC Seizes Police Headquarters in Gadhafi Stronghold

Posted October 11th, 2011 at 2:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Libya's provisional government fighters say they have gained control of the police headquarters in former leader Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte and are close to taking full control of the town.

National Transitional Council forces say they seized the police headquarters on Tuesday. Witnesses said revolutionary fighters could be seen firing celebratory shots into the air.

In recent days, NTC fighters in Sirte had taken three important landmarks – the city's main hospital, the university and the convention center that Gadhafi loyalists had used as their main base of operation.

Earlier Tuesday, the fighters said they had squeezed pro-Gadhafi fighters in Sirte into two neighborhoods.

NTC officials have said the capture of Sirte will allow them to declare the country liberated, because it will mean the provisional government controls all of Libya'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.

In the southern city of Bani Walid – the other remaining pro-Gadhafi bastion – revolutionary fighters have retreated from the town center after facing heavy sniper fire and booby-traps, but they still hold the airport and two nearby villages.