NTC meets stiff resistance in Sirte and Bani Walid
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Fighters loyal to Moamer Kadhafi put up stiff resistance to National Transitional Council (NTC) forces in the former ruler’s birthplace, Sirte, and the key bastion of Bani Walid. Last-minute haggling held up the announcement of a new government in Benghazi.
Powerful explosions and artillery fire could be hear at Bani Walid on Sunday, with NTC commanders claiming that they have surrounded the town but that heavy fighting lasted all night.
NTC fighters were also facing “a lot of resistance” in Sirte on the Mediterranean coast, operations command spokesperson Ahmed al-Zlitni told the AFP news agency. They advanced from the west into the city on Saturday but were forced to retreat after two hours under heavy artillery fire.
Doctors at field hospitals reported at least 10 killed and 40 wounded.
Bangkok-based French freelance journalist Olivier Sarbil was seriously wounded by shrapnel in Sirte on Saturday.
A planned announced of a new NTC government was delayed Sunday with officials blaming last-minute haggling.
Longstanding opposition groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood accused interim prime minister Mahmud Jibril of failing to consult them properly, according to officials.
Nato jets hit 11 targets around Sirte, 11 in the Al-Jufra oasis and three in Sabah in the south on Saturday.
Blair visited Libya at Kadhafi’s expense in June 2008 and April 2009, according to emails and letters the Telegraph claims to have uncovered.
A spokesperson for Blair acknowledged that the visits took place and that the Libyans raised the Megrahi case but insisted that Blair told them it was a matter for the authorities in Scotland, where the bombing took place.
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