Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anti-Gadhafi Forces Retreat in Bani Walid and Sirte Amid Fierce Resistance

Stunned Libyan revolutionary forces regrouped today outside the Gadhafi stronghold Bani Walid after fierce fighters loyal to the deposed dictator successfully countered an offensive to take the hold-out city.

The Transitional National Council's army was stymied in part by what its claims is an effort to limit innocent civilians casualties as revolutionary forces move on Bani Walid, as well as Moammar Gadhafi's hometown Sirte.

But the Gadhafi forces are entrenched and well-armed in Bani Walid, about 80 miles southeast of Tripoli. It is one of the cities where Gadhafi may be hiding. 

"The Gadhafi loyalists have so many weapons," revolutionary fighter Mabb Fatel, 28, told the Associated Press. “This battle is really crazy.”

In the coastal Mediterranean city of Sirte, even after bombing runs by NATO warplanes, TNC forces face tanks, artillery and clusters of snipers that have prevented revolutionary fighters from entering the city.

In a mostly symbolic victory, revolutionary forces captured the Al-Gurdabia airbase south of Sirte, Bloomberg reported.

Canada, meanwhile, whose commitment to the campaign was to expire this month, has agreed to extend its role by three months.

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