- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Libyans face heavy resistance in Gadhafi hometown
SIRTE, Libya (AP) — With NATO warplanes circling overhead, revolutionary fighters battled block by block Saturday as snipers rained fire from rooftops in fierce street fighting in Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown — the most important remaining bastion of support for the fugitive leader.
The battle for Sirte is crucial because Libya’s new leaders have promised to declare liberation after it is captured even though fighting continues elsewhere and Gadhafi remains on the run. That will allow them to move forward with setting a timeline for elections and establishing normalcy in the oil-rich North African nation.
Revolutionary forces launched a major attack on Friday, pushing into the Mediterranean coastal city from the west, east and south after a three week siege from the outskirts in which they said they were giving civilians time to flee.
Gadhafi forces also remain entrenched in the central city of Bani Walid, but the transitional leaders say they will declare liberation without it because Sirte’s fall will give them control over all seaports and harbors.
British Defense Secretary Liam Fox pledged to keep up NATO airstrikes even after Sirte’s fall, saying the international military action would continue as long as the remnants of the regime pose a risk to the people of Libya.
“We have a message for those who are still fighting for Gadhafi that the game is over, you have been rejected by the people of Libya,” he told reporters Saturday in Tripoli.
Anti-Gadhafi forces met strong resistance as they pushed to within less than half a mile (kilometer) from loyalist fighters dug in around Sirte’s Ouagadougou convention center and Green Square in fierce street fighting in the heart of the city.
Libya’s de facto leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the head of the governing National Transitional Council, said the battle has been “ferocious,” with 15 revolutionary fighters killed and 180 wounded on Friday.
“Our fighters today are still dealing with the snipers positioned on the high buildings and we sustained heavy casualties,” he said at a joint news conference in Tripoli with Fox and Italian Defense Secretary Ignazio La Russa.
Suleiman Ali, commander for revolutionary forces, said loyalist forces have been driven away from Ibn Sina Hospital where hundreds of civilians have sought refuge from the fighting.
A military spokesman in Tripoli, Abdel-Rahman Busin, said he expected the city to be declared free in the next 24 hours.
“They’ve pretty much taken the city and it’s just a few pockets of resistance,” he said, adding snipers were still posing a major threat.
NATO warplanes flew overhead but no strikes were immediately reported.
Abdul-Jalil called on the international community to help Libyans treat the wounded, saying they could deduct the cost from Libyan assets that were frozen under Gadhafi’s regime.
Sirte, 250 miles (400 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli, is key to the physical unity of the nation of some 6 million people, since it lies roughly in the center of the coastal plain where most Libyans live, blocking the easiest routes between east and west.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow