- - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

LIBYA

Hundreds flee Gadhafi’s hometown

SIRTE — Libyan revolutionary forces fired rockets into the western half of Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown Tuesday even as hundreds of residents streamed out of the city to flee the fighting.

Anti-Gadhafi fighters launched their offensive against Sirte last month but have faced fierce resistance from regime loyalists holed up inside.

The battle for the city has become the focal point of efforts to rout die-hard supporters of Col. Gadhafi, whose whereabouts remain unknown more than six weeks since Tripoli’s fall.

Nouri al-Naari, a doctor at a field hospital in a mosque on Sirte’s outskirts, said two anti-Gadhafi fighters had been killed and 28 wounded in intense battles in Sirte on Monday.

Amid concerns about a humanitarian crisis, the International Committee of the Red Cross said its staff had crossed the front lines and delivered urgently needed oxygen and other medical supplies to the hospital in Sirte on Monday. They also evacuated a Dutch nurse who had been working there.

Aid workers also are providing food and other items for thousands of people who have fled Sirte.

Libya’s de facto Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said Monday that Sirte, about 250 miles southeast of Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast, must be seized before the transitional leadership can declare victory and set a timeline in motion for elections for a formal government.

Fighting also continues in the town of Bani Walid and in pockets in the south, but Mr. Jibril said Sirte’s capture would mean the main entry ports to the country are secure.

BAHRAIN

Bahrain sentences 26 for protest links

MANAMA — A Bahraini security court has sentenced 26 activists to prison for their part in anti-government protests, raising to 60 the total number convicted over the past two days in stepped-up prosecutions by the Gulf kingdom.

The official Bahrain News Agency said the verdicts Tuesday include members of a Shiite political group, Al Amal, which was banned by the Sunni monarchy after pro-reform protests began in February.

The agency said the sentences range from five to 15 years.

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