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Libya fighters capture stronghold

Revolutionary fighters in Libya have captured the airport and other locations in a southern desert city that is considered one of the last remaining strongholds of Muammar Gaddafi's forces, fighters said.

The capture of Sabha would be a major victory for Libya's new rulers, who have struggled to rout forces loyal to Gaddafi a month after sweeping into Tripoli and forcing the ousted leader into hiding.

A push to capture Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte and the mountain enclave of Bani Walid have stalled as well-armed forces loyal to the fugitive leader have fought back fiercely with rockets and other heavy weaponry.

"Our flags are waving there over the airport and other parts of Sabha," Colonel Ahmed Bani, the military spokesman for the transitional government, told reporters in Tripoli.

The airport is about four miles from the centre of Sabha, 400 miles south of Tripoli.

Salam Kara, the Benghazi-based spokesman for Sabha's local council, said revolutionary forces also had seized an old fort as well as a convention centre and a hospital inside the city.

"It is a great achievement by the rebels from all over the south and led by the rebels from inside of Sabha," he said. "The resistance is not strong because Sabha's rebels have been holding protests for a long time and just needed help from outside."


From Belfast Telegraph