Gaddafi troops stall rebel advance
Pro-Gaddafi fighters fired anti-aircraft guns at revolutionary forces holding the northern gate of a loyalist stronghold for a second day yesterday, as frustration with weeks of halting advances grows among the former rebel ranks.
Anti-Gaddafi forces have been massed outside Bani Walid since shortly after Libya's new rulers gained control of Tripoli and other parts of the country in August, leaving just a few major holdouts remaining loyal to the fugitive leader.
The official, trained military of the National Transitional Council, Libya's interim government, pulled away from Bani Walid to regroup and reinforce for a new assault after they were heavily beaten in the city Friday. That has left bands of ragtag, undisciplined fighters on the front line.
When they decide to enter the town, they charge in half a dozen pickup trucks only to retreat a short while later.
Yesterday, three of their cars rode right into an ambush by Gaddafi forces on a street none of the outsiders was familiar with.
Describing another typical attempt, fighter Lutfi al-Shibly of Libya's western mountains, said, "We entered the city, 600 meters from the city centre, but we didn't have enough forces so we lost the position and had to retreat."
The new leadership is facing a tough fight uprooting the remnants of Gaddafi's regime nearly four weeks after the then-rebels rolled into Tripoli on Aug 21.