Libya’s NTC Controls 80% of Sirte

Posted October 12th, 2011 at 9:35 am (UTC-5)
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Libya's provisional government fighters say they control more than 80 percent of Sirte, the hometown of former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

However, the fighters said Wednesday they are still facing stiff resistance from Gadhafi loyalists who hold pockets of the coastal town.

The National Transitional Council forces have made several significant advances in Sirte in recent days. They seized the town's police headquarters on Tuesday.

Days earlier, the fighters gained control of the main hospital, the university and the convention center that Gadhafi loyalists had used as their main base of operation.

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.

NATO said Tuesday that it has no evidence of any significant pro-Gadhafi activities in Libya outside of Sirte and the desert town of Bani Walid.

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 town for three weeks.

Pro-Gadhafi forces are also putting up strong resistance in Bani Walid. NTC fighters retreated from the town center after facing heavy sniper fire and booby-traps, but they still hold the airport and two nearby villages.