Thursday, 29 September 2011

Libyan forces take Sirte airport

Forces loyal to Libya's transitional authorities have taken the airport in the city of Sirte, the birthplace of fugitive leader Muammar Gaddafi.
A BBC correspondent says jubilant fighters moved through the partially destroyed terminal buildings tearing down symbols of the Gaddafi regime.
Gaddafi loyalists have put up stiff resistance in Sirte.
Two weeks ago transitional forces took the airport, a short distance from the city centre, but were then driven back.
The BBC's Jonathan Head says that this time they hope to hold it, despite facing continued rocket and gunfire from the other side of the runway.
Fighters arriving from the west and east say they will then mount a joint attack on Gaddafi loyalists, hoping to push them back towards the sea and to squeeze them into ever smaller areas of the city centre, our correspondent adds.
The airport is about 5km (3 miles) from central Sirte.
Forces loyal to Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) also recently seized Sirte's port.
Nato planes have been carrying out air strikes in the area against military targets including ammunition storage facilities.
Sirte and the city of Bani Walid are the last major areas under the control of Gaddafi loyalists, and both have seen heavy fighting in recent days.
Col Gaddafi's whereabouts are still unknown, though NTC officials have said they believe he may be hiding in Libya's southern desert.

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