Fierce street fighting in Gaddafi stronghold


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The Independent Online

Rebel fighters were inside Bani Walid last night, one of the few remaining Gaddafi strongholds, and engaged in street fighting with remnants of the former dictator's forces.

The town, along with several villages and Gaddafi's birthplace, Sirte, has been under siege for more than a week in preparation for a final assault.

Gaddafi's supporters responded yesterday by firing rockets at rebel fighters who had spent most of the day gearing up for an assault. Vast amounts of ammunition were reportedly being delivered to rebels on the outskirts of Bani Walid, along with troop reinforcements from Tripoli.

Rebel forces had been talking up an attack all day, but appeared last night to have moved before today's deadline for loyalists to abandon the town. One fighter, Osama al-Fassi, said: "We are preparing for war."