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'Fierce' Libya Fighting Over Pro-Qaddafi Towns

NTC fighters fire a howitzer at Qaddafi loyalist forces east of Sirte on September 16.

What's described as "fierce" fighting has been taking place in Libya as forces of the interim government attempt to defeat fighters loyal to ousted ruler Muammar Qaddafi in two towns.

Street-to-street fighting has been reported in Qaddafi's home town of Sirte, on the Mediterranean coast, as forces backed by the National Transitional Council (NTC) met stiff resistance from loyalist fighters.

Interim government forces were also reported to have launched a new assault on pro-Qaddafi fighters in Bani Walid, after they were beaten into a retreat by loyalists in the town on September 16.

Qaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown, but his spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said Qaddafi remains in Libya and is leading the battle against the interim government.

Forces of the National Transitional Council drove Qaddafi's forces out of the capital Tripoli nearly one month ago.

In another development, the United Nations Security Council has voted to ease sanctions on Libya to help the country recover after the overthrow of Qaddafi.

The action would ease sanctions against its national oil company and central bank among others.

Such sanctions were imposed on Libya six months ago to punish the Qaddafi regime for its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

In the same resolution passed unanimously on September 16, the Security Council also established a UN mission in Libya.

Earlier, the UN General Assembly approved a Libyan request to recognize the National Transitional Council as the country's rightful representatives at the world body.

compiled from agency reports