Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Libya fighters 'punch through Sirte defences'

Al Jazeera's frontline correspondent says NTC fighters have made a major breakthrough in battle for Gaddafi's hometown.

The remaining Gaddafi loyalists were staging a fierce rearguard action and had "a lot of ammunition and a lot of resolve", Birtley said.
The advancing fighters had found a lot of discarded weapons and uniforms and had captured a number of black Libyans who said they were civilians. But NTC fighters believed they were Gaddafi soldiers, our correspondent said.
"This is a heartland of Gaddafi's support but that now is crumbling. The hold they have on Sirte is crumbling by the minute."
Earlier, Abdul Salam Javallah, commander of NTC units from eastern Libya, told the Reuters news agency that Gaddafi forces inside the Mediterranean city were cornered in two neighbourhoods near the sea.
"We are dealing with them now with light weapons because there are still families inside," he said.
There are fears the fighting could breed long-term hostility, making it hard for the NTC to unite the vast North African state once the conflict is over.