8 Oct 2011

Libya fighters reach centre of Gaddafi stronghold

12:38 pm on 8 October 2011

Forces loyal to the new authorities in Libya are in control of most of the city of Sirte after a major assault.

The city had been the last significant stronghold of the supporters of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the BBC reports.

It was attacked at dawn local time and columns of fighters loyal to the National Transitional Council (NTC) then entered from several directions and have fought their way into the centre of the city.

Columns of smoke rose above the city as government forces fought their way street by street until they reached the Ouagadougou conference centre where many of the Gaddafi loyalists are believed to have barricaded themselves.

Doctors said least 12 people were killed and more than 190 injured. Thousands of civilians have left Sirte but many have remained behind.

The battle for Sirte comes nearly two months after the former rebels seized control of virtually all of Libya, ousting Colonel Gaddafi.