Bloomberg News

Libyan Opposition Fighters Tighten Net Around Qaddafi Hometown

October 02, 2011

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan opposition fighters tightened their cordon around Sirte, the hometown of Muammar Qaddafi and one of the country’s last loyalist strongholds, as NATO said it was preparing to wind down its mission there.

Interim government forces, who have been shelling Qaddafi loyalists in Sirte backed by NATO air strikes, are seeking a two-day truce to allow civilians to escape the coastal city. A family of four was killed by machinegun fire as they fled Sirte yesterday, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s military mission is nearing completion and could begin winding down its involvement in the North African country as soon as this week, the AP reported. Army General Carter Ham, the top U.S. commander for Africa, told the news agency that U.S. military chiefs will likely provide NATO officials in Brussels with their assessments on Libya late in the week.

Qaddafi remains at large. The National Transitional Council has been working to stabilize the economy and establish authority over factions that rebelled against the deposed Libyan leader, including the military council in Misrata, the main rebel stronghold in the west during the seven-month conflict, which is leading the Sirte operation.

The formation of an interim Cabinet has been repeatedly postponed since the NTC took Tripoli, the capital, in late August. Libya may not have a new interim government for weeks or months, Mahmoud Jibril, prime minister of the NTC, told reporters on Sept. 29.

--Editors: Digby Lidstone, Louis Meixler.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Tuttle in Tripoli at rtuttle@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.


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