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Sandstorm Slows Assault On Qaddafi's Hometown Of Sirte

NTC fighters stand guard during heavy fighting as they push forward towards the center of Sirte on October 7.
Forces loyal to Libya's interim government battling loyalists of Muammar Qaddafi say a sandstorm is slowing their efforts to take full control of Sirte, the ousted leader's birthplace.

The interim government forces still face stiff resistance from heavily armed Qaddafi loyalists, who hold barricaded positions in Sirte's downtown conference center and in the university area.

Sirte and another city, Bani Walid, are Qaddafi's last major bastions against the interim government, which has ruled most of Libya since taking Tripoli on August 23.

A senior U.S. defense official said on October 7 that NATO chiefs believe the fugitive former Libyan leader no longer commands his loyalists, who are on the verge of defeat.

compiled from agency reports

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