Friday, September 16, 2011

Battle for Libya rages in Gadhafi strongholds



A large column of Libyan revolutionaries battled their way into Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte Friday as a delegation headed to neighboring Niger to demand it turn over one of the ousted leader's sons.

A brigade of fighters from Misrata wrested control of an airport near the western entrance of Sirte, said a statement from the Misrata Military Council.

The anti-Gadhafi fighters had retreated to the outskirts of the city for the night but battles raged throughout Friday for control of one of the last remaining regime strongholds.

Fighters faced rocket fire from Gadhafi loyalists during the assault on the town that sits on the Mediterranean coast, said Ali Gheliwan, military spokesman for the National Transitional Council. The fighting killed 11 revolutionary fighters and wounded 34 others, he said, and 40 of Gadhafi's men were captured.

Meanwhile, a transitional council delegation was demanding Niger hand over Saadi Gadhafi and other regime officials who fled to that country.

Saadi Gadhafi arrived in Niger Sunday, accompanied by eight regime officials "of minor importance," Niger Justice Minister Marou Amadou said this week.

At least three Libyan convoys have entered Niger recently, carrying generals, family members and low-ranking Gadhafi regime military and security personnel, according to officials in Niger. more