Nato blasts Gaddafi hometown | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 26, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 26, 2011

Nato blasts Gaddafi hometown

NTC holds back after making advance

Nato warplanes pounded Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte for the second straight day yesterday as new regime forces held back on the ground after a major push into the heart of the coastal city.
A day after entering Sirte in a surprise assault, National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters pulled back on the western side, while east of Sirte others awaited their marching orders, AFP correspondents said.
Deadly fighting also raged in the oasis of Ghadames near the Algerian border in the west, a local official said, while further north, and south of Sirte, NTC forces gathered outside Bani Walid for a fresh assault on the town.
On the political front, NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said an interim government would be announced next week and that Gaddafi's internationally "banned weapons" were now under its control.
"We were ordered to leave downtown Sirte because Nato has a mission to do there. We left after 7:00pm last night (Saturday),"a fighter told AFP. Other fighters said the attack on Sirte will come today.
Nato aircraft launched at least a dozen air strikes around Sirte yesterday morning, an AFP correspondent said.
On Saturday fighters entered Sirte in what appeared to be a pincer movement from the south and the east.
"Our troops went seven kilometres inside through the eastern gate and there were sporadic to sometimes heavy clashes with Gaddafi's forces," said commander Mohammed al-Marimi of the Fakriddin Sallabi Brigade.
Misrata Military Council spokesman Abdel Ibrahim said seven NTC fighters were killed and 145 wounded.
Nato forces struck at Gaddafi forces after reports emerged from Sirte of "executions, hostage-taking, and the calculated targeting of individuals, families, and communities within the city," a coalition statement said.

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