Sirte: Revolutionary fighters on Friday assaulted
a convention centre in the heart of Sirte that forces loyal to
Muammar Gaddafi turned into their main base, in what
commanders said was a final offensive to crush resistance in
the holdout city after weeks of siege.
The forces of Libya`s new rulers were pushing into the
Mediterranean coastal city from the west, east and south in
heavy fighting, trying to squeeze Gaddafi loyalists into a
smaller and smaller perimeter.
The two sides battered each other with rockets, mortar
shells and tank fire, as Gaddafi snipers fired down on
fighters advancing through housing complexes.
Today`s push marks the largest new assault on the city
"We started the attack at 6 am today. The first group hit
the outskirts of Sirte. We were fired on by Gaddafi snipers.
We had many soldiers wounded," said commander Altaib Aleroebi
of the ex-rebels` West Mountain Brigade, which led the morning
attack on the western front.
At least eight revolutionary fighters were killed and 125
were wounded, doctors said.
Ambulances sped down Sirte`s main avenue to a field
hospital set up in an abandoned villa five miles (eight
kilometers) from the centre.
Doctors said a senior commander, Ali Saeh of the Free
Libya Brigade, was injured, shot twice by a sniper as he led
fighters through loyalist forces in a residential area.