Conflict & Justice

Libya's revolutionary fighters forced to retreat

Libya's revolutionary fighters near Bani Walid have been forced to retreat into the mountains as loyalists maintain fierce resistance.

Gaddafi's seaside home town of Sirte has also become a battlefield of snipers firing from mosques, the Press Association reports.

Fighters have launched the twin assaults on the two remaining strongholds of Gaddafi loyalists, who still maintain control of territory along the central coast and in the southern desert three weeks after the topple of the regime.

AP reports:

In the mountain enclave of Bani Walid, about 90 miles south-east of Tripoli, revolutionary forces pulled back after a day of intense fighting that failed to dislodge pro-Gaddafi snipers and gunners from strategic positions.

In Sirte, Gaddafi's birthplace on the Mediterranean coast, his backers rained gunfire down from mosque minarets and high-rise buildings on fighters pushing into the city from the west, while in the streets the two sides battered each other with high-calibre machine guns, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades.

"The Gaddafi loyalists have so many weapons," said Maab Fatel, a 28-year-old revolutionary fighter on the front lines in Bani Walid. "This battle is really crazy." AP reports.

Dr Ihab Agha, a field doctor, said at least five rebels were killed and more than 20 wounded, including one fighter who had both legs amputated because of severe injuries, AP reports.

Today, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Libya and joined Friday prayers in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square.

"You have shown the whole world that no one can stand before the power and the will of the people," he said in a speech as thousands cheered.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday eased sanctions on Libya, including on its national oil company and central bank, to enable key institutions to recover after the civil war, Reuters reports.

The 15-nation council voted unanimously for a resolution that also establishes a U.N. mission in Libya to help the North African nation stabilize (Read more at

The resolution begins lifting punitive measures imposed on the oil-exporting country six months ago when Gaddafi was overseeing a crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators, Reuters reports.