Libya: Rebels Predict Capture of Sirte “Within Hours”

Tripoli, Oct 11. -Troops of the National Transitional Council (NTC) advanced on Tuesday towards downtown Sirte after clashing with those loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi predicting they would take over the city within the next hours.After capturing Ibn Sina hospital, the facilities of the University of Ettahadi and Ouagadougou conference center, the rebels took over residential areas previously evacuated by civilians.

NTC spokespersons recognized that the advances carried out in the last 24 hours were basically possible thanks to NATO air force, which strengthen air raids over the areas defended by pro-Gaddafi forces.

Rebels' military leaders noted to have under their control more than 70 percent of the city affirming that those loyal to Gaddafi are "cornered" in two neighborhoods near the Mediterranean sea, an area of about 2-km square, "but there is still resistance".

Rebels, deployed in Bani Walid, also reported advances towards the city's downtown although their death toll in both cities have reached 46 while more than 250 men have been injured in the last 48 hours.

Different sources believe that the Libyan leader and Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi could be under the protection of Tuareg tribes in the southwestern desert, possibly in a vast area near the Algerian and the Nigerian border.

However, NTC leader, Abdul Jalil, told journalists on Sunday that the organization lacks reliable information related to the whereabouts of Gaddafi. (Prensa Latina)