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Intense Fighting In Qaddafi's Hometown Of Sirte

Smoke rises from the center of Sirte amid heavy fighting in the coastal city.
Heavy fighting has broken out in the coastal city of Sirte between troops loyal to Libya's interim government and the forces of fugitive leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Live television footage on October 14 showed thick plumes of black smoke rising in the sky, amid the noise of continuous gunfire.

Fighters backing the new Transitional National Council reportedly took over more areas in Sirte, where fighting has been going on for weeks.

For about a week, commanders have been saying that "liberating the city is on the horizon."

Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown, is one of two main strongholds still under the control of forces loyal to the ousted leader, along with the desert town of Bani Walid.

Anti-Qaddafi forces said they are also preparing a major final offensive to capture Bani Walid.

compiled from agency reports