Thursday, 20 October 2011

NTC troops seize Sirte

According to a number of reports, Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) has taken full control of Sirte. It is believed that the final efforts to seizethe city lasted for over an hour.

NTC troops have been involved in fierce battle with Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's loyalist for weeks. Some are still resisting NTC troops in the town of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli.

Forces loyal to NTC have been facing heavy resistance from Qadhafi loyalists in the centre of Sirte, about 360km east of Tripoli. On Thursday (20th October) morning, the head of head of government operations in the eastern half of the city, Colonel Yunus al-Abdali told Reuters news agency: "Sirte has been liberated."

Al-Abdali added: "There are no Gaddafi forces any more…We are now chasing his fighters who are trying to run away." The NTC said it would declare liberation of Libya once the city of Sirte has fallen.

Qadhafi, who ruled Libya for four decades, was ousted in August. His whereabouts are unknown, however, several members are in hiding or have fled the country.

Sources: Reuters, BBC News, AP

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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