Rebels fight to capture Gaddafi loyalist-held cities
Tripoli, Aug 25: Rebels battled pro-Muammar Gaddafi forces today in Libya's east and faced stubborn resistance in the capital while the opposition moved to assert control over the oil-rich country even as the longtime dictator remained at large.
The rebels have seized control of much of Tripoli as Gaddafi's 42-year regime crumbled, but the autocrat has refused to surrender and has vowed from hiding to fight on "until victory or martyrdom."
The rebel leadership has offered a USD 2 million bounty on Gaddafi's head, and British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said today that NATO was helping in the search for the longtime dictator.
Fox told BBC Radio 4 that NATO was "providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to help in the hunt," and had been heavily active in carrying out overnight airstrikes against Gaddafi loyalists, but refused to say if British special forces were involved.
Rebels say one of their key targets now is Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, about 250 miles (400 kilometres) from Tripoli, but acknowledged that capturing that city would not be easy because Gaddafi's fellow tribesmen were expected to put up a fierce fight.
Opposition leaders have said they were trying to negotiate a peaceful surrender of the city.
Fawzi Abu Ketf, deputy defence minister of the rebel National Transitional Council, said fighting was raging Thursday outside Bin Jawad, 400 miles (650 kilometres) south of Tripoli, but he had no details. Gaddafi loyalists ambushed rebels advancing toward the city yesterday, killing at least 20 of them. AP
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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