9 Sep 2011

Rockets fired at rebel positions

7:51 am on 9 September 2011

Forces loyal to ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have been firing rockets at rebel positions from the town of Bani Walid.

The town is one of Colonel Gaddafi's last remaining bastions in Libya.

Rockets landed near those surrounding the town ahead of a deadline of Saturday for loyalists to surrender.

Earlier there were skirmishes near the town, which lies about 140km south-east of Tripoli.

The missiles landed in Wadi Dinar, about 20km from Bani Walid.

The National Transitional Council has been trying to negotiate a peaceful resolution in Bani Walid, Jufra, Sabha and Sirte, Colonel Gaddafi's birthplace.

The BBC reports Colonel Gaddafi's whereabouts remain the subject of speculation.

Gold sales

Meanwhile, Libya's central bank says reserves of gold worth 1.7 billion dinars ($US1.4 billion) has been sold during the conflict.

National Transitional Council officials said the reserves that were sold went to merchants in Libya in April or May, and the money was used to cover salaries.

Interim central bank governor Qassim Azzuz said the sales represented about 20% of Libya's gold reserves.

''No gold has been stolen from the central bank of Libya, or currency,'' he said.

''Some of the gold reserve was used to generate cash to deal with the situation inside Tripoli.

''But it should be known that the previous regime has money outside our banking system.''