AP News

Libya's leader reaches out Gadhafi stronghold

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The spokesman of Libya's interim parliament says the country's transitional leader has visited a key mountain town still held by fighters loyal to the regime of slain leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Omar al-Houmidan says that interim President Mohammed el-Megarif's Tuesday visit to the town of Bani Walid, 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Tripoli, aimed at achieving national reconciliation. He said locals pledged to hand over anyone there wanted for crimes.

Bani Walid, a town of some 100,000 residents, fell to revolutionary forces in October, the last town in Libya to do so. However, in January, pro-Gadhafi forces rose up and retook it.

Libya's central government is still weak, with most towns in the country dominated by local militias.

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