Anti-Gaddafi forces claim headway into Bani Walid, delay Sirte push
Oct 16, 2011, 10:38 GMT
Cairo- Forces loyal to Libya's new rulers claimed Sunday major advances on the town of Bani Walid, one of the last bastions of the fugitive deposed leader Moamer Gaddafi.
The anti-Gaddafi forces were controlling around 85 per cent of Bani Walid, the Libyan website Qurnyanew quoted Mahmoud Buras, a media spokesman in the town, as saying on Sunday.
'The revolutionaries have liberated the Bani Walid hospital, the whole industrial zone and part of a marketplace,' he added.
'The town's liberation is on the horizon,' said Buras.
Bani Walid, located 400 kilometres south-east of Tripoli, is one of two main strongholds for Gaddafi's forces, along with the former strongman's hometown Sirte.
Previous bids to capture Bani Walid have failed because of the stiff resistance from an estimated 1,000 Gaddafi loyalists who are believed to be in position in the mountains around the town.
Meanwhile, Libya's ruling Transitional National Council has decided to delay a mass-scale attack to capture two unruly areas in Sirte where pro-Gaddafi fighters are believed to be positioned, Arab media reported Sunday.
'Resistance is fierce in two districts (in Sirte) where we believe four to five important persons are hiding,' the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat quoted Sunday Wessam bin Hamid, an anti-Gaddafi military commander in the city, as saying.
The anti-Gaddafi troops had to make a choatic retreat for two kilometres in Sirte late Saturday after Gaddafi loyalists launched a surprise counter-attack, according to the broadcaster Al Arabiya.
Two of Gaddafi's sons are thought to be in the port city, according to the television report.