Street Battles Begin in Gadhafi's Hometown
Last bastion of Sirte is poised to fall, finally
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 8, 2011 9:23 AM CDT
Libyan revolutionary fighters carry a wounded comrade while attacking pro-Gadhafi forces in Sirte, Libya, Friday.   (Manu Brabo)
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(Newser) – With NATO warplanes circling overhead, revolutionary fighters battled block by block today 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. Revolutionary forces launched a major attack yesterday, 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.

The anti-Gadhafi forces met strong resistance as they pushed to within less than half a mile from loyalist fighters dug in around Sirte's Ouagadougou convention center and Green Square in fierce street fighting in the heart of the city. The battle for Sirte is crucial because Libya's new leaders have promised to declare liberation after it is captured—it will give them control over all seaports and harbors—even though fighting continues elsewhere and Gadhafi remains on the run. That will allow them to move forward with setting a timeline for elections. (NATO, meanwhile, is divided on when to stop bombing.)
 

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