Libyan rebels are stopped by Gaddafi's forces 100 km east of the the city of Sirte 2803119
Defense News - The conflict in Libya
Monday, March 28, 2011, 04:25 PM
Libyan rebels are stopped by Gaddafi's forces 100 km east of the the city of Sirte.
Libyan Rebels are attempting to seize control of Muammar Gaddafi's hometown, but government forces are gathered to stop them.
Libya combat map situation March 28, 2011 04:50 PM
Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi are resisting an advance by Libyan rebels towards the embattled Libyan leader's hometown of Sirte in the fiercest clashes since the start of a sweeping offensive that has brought a string of coastal towns under opposition control.
The rebels, backed by international coalition air strikes, have advanced largely unchecked since Friday but claims in Benghazi, the rebel's eastern stronghold, earlier on Monday that Sirte had also fallen were premature.
Opposition fighters are now engaged in clashes about 100km east of the city, with pro-Gaddafi forces shelling their front lines.
Fighting is ongoing at Nawfaliya, about 180km east of Sirte, where opposition forces say they have come upon a heavily mined road. Pro-Gaddafi forces have dug into positions near the front line, and are shelling opposition fighters.
"Sirte will not be easy to take. Now, because of NATO strikes on [the government's] heavy weapons, we're almost fighting with the same weapons," said General Hamdi Hassi, an opposition commander from the city of Bin Jawad.
Libyan rebel soldier stands with an RPG near a check point on the road to Sirte, near Ben Jawad
There was fresh fighting further west in rebel-held Misurata as well, where rebels admitted that Gaddafi forces had gained control of part of the town after days of heavy fighting and despite air strikes on Saturday by French and British forces.
"Part of the city is under rebel control and the other part is under the control of forces loyal to Gaddafi," a spokesman told the Reuters news agency.
Nine people were killed overnight by snipers and shelling by pro-Gaddafi forces, according to a doctor there, while a resident told Reuters that 24 people had been wounded in mortar attacks by government forces.
A Libyan government spokesman claimed Misurata had been liberated.