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Libyan Forces Launch Assaults On Remaining Pro-Qaddafi Bastions

Forces of Libya's interim government have launched assaults on two of the last remaining strongholds of loyalists of ousted ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

Forces linked to the interim National Transitional Council were reported to have attacked Bani Walid on September 9, ahead of a previously declared deadline of September 10 for the town to surrender to the council's authority.

Battles were reported under way in Bani Walid, which is located some 150 kilometers southeast of Tripoli.

The interim forces said they decided to attack after pro-Qaddafi fighters fired rockets at their positions around Bani Walid.

Fighting was also reported near Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte, on the Mediterranean coast. In the case of Sirte, interim forces said they had also come under rocket attack by Qaddafi loyalists.

Qaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown, but he and figures linked to him have said he remains in Libya.

In Washington, meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama on September 9 formally accepted the diplomatic credentials of the National Transitional Council's representative to Washington.

compiled from agency reports