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Libyan Rebels Attack Final Qaddafi Strongholds

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Some seven months after the start of Libya's revolution and one month after the taking of Tripoli, anti-Qaddafi fighters continue to face resistance in two remaining Qaddafi strongholds, the towns of Sirte and Bani Walid. Just today, ant-Qaddafi forces reportedly seized control of the port in the eastern part of Sirte as another group of fighters pressed in from the west. Over the course of this evolving conflict, reporters have repeatedly changed the terminology they use to describe these fighters -- from "protesters" (in February) to "anti-government fighters" to "rebels" to "revolutionaries." Now that the leadership they support controls most of Libya's state affairs, they are being called "National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters", and even "government fighters." Meanwhile, progress has been made toward rebuilding and reopening businesses in Tripoli, as residents look forward to the next phase in Libyan history with a wary eye toward Qaddafi's still-dangerous supporters. [40 photos]

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A Libyan fighter loyal to the National Transitional Council takes cover behind a house close at the frontline during fighting against strongman Muammar Qaddafi loyalists in the city Bani Walid, on September 24, 2011, one of the few remaining bastions of pro-Qaddafi diehards. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)
A Libyan fighter loyal to the National Transitional Council takes cover behind a house close at the frontline during fighting against strongman Muammar Qaddafi loyalists in the city Bani Walid, on September 24, 2011, one of the few remaining bastions of pro-Qaddafi diehards. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Qaddafi fighters fire a rocket launcher near Sirte, one of Muammar Qaddafi's last remaining strongholds, on September 24, 2011. Libyan provisional government forces backed by NATO warplanes swarmed into the city of Sirte on Saturday but weathered heavy sniper fire as they tried to win control of the city. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter uses a picture of Muammar Qaddafi as a floor mat in his vehicle at El-Khamseen gate, the eastern gate of Sirte, on September 25, 2011. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters drive a tank at an outpost on the outskirts of the city of Bani Walid, on September 21, 2011. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyans chant slogans as they celebrate during a gathering against ousted leader Muammar Qaddafi on Martyrs Square, known under Qaddafi as Green Square, in Tripoli, on September 9, 2011. (Reuters/Anis Mili) #
Libyan revolutionary supporters react as Libyan Transitional National Council chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil delivers his speech on the former Green Square renamed as Martyr's Square in Tripoli, Libya, on September 12, 2011. The chief of Libya's former rebels arrived in Tripoli on Saturday, greeted by a boisterous red carpet ceremony meant to show he's taking charge of the interim government replacing the ousted regime of Muammar Qaddafi. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) #
Mohammed Sayad, 18, shows his necklace with a pre-Qaddafi flag, at the beach in Tripoli, Libya, on September 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) #
Libya's National Transition Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil shakes hands with an injured Libyan as he and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and French President Nicolas Sarkozy (center) visit injured people in the Tripoli Medical center on September 15, 2011 in Tripoli. Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Britain's help in hunting down fugitive strongman Muammar Qaddafi as he and France's Nicolas Sarkozy became the first foreign leaders to visit the new Libya. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images) #
Musicians Aimen Alamen (left) and Ausman Ben Khalifa rehearse some of their pro-revolution songs in central Tripoli, Libya on September 18, 2011 ahead of a concert in Martyr's Square on September 27. Ausman Ben Khalifa was living outside of Libya when the uprising began and returned to his home country to fight with the rebel forces. By combining their love of music with a strong support of the uprising, they have written anti-Qaddafi songs that they hope will remind people of why the country needed to oust the dictator. Despite never having touched a gun before the fighting began, weapons have become a normal part of everyday life now with automatic rifles sitting beside Ben Kalifa's collection of guitars. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images) #
A pall of smoke covers the city of Tripoli, Libya, as it rises from the military warehouse belonged to the army of Libya's ousted leader Muammar Qaddafi in the port area of the city, on September 24, 2011. A series of explosions rocked the military warehouse and a huge plume of smoke rose over the harbor on Saturday afternoon, although the cause of the blasts was not immediately known. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) #
Suspected loyalists of Muammar Qaddafi flash victory signs inside a jail in Tripoli, on September 14, 2011. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem) #
A woman suspected of being a Qaddafi loyalist, behind bars inside a detention facility in Misrata, Libya, on September 22, 2011. Muammar Qaddafi's former prime minister has been arrested in Tunisia, officials said, as Libya's new rulers and NATO warned the fugitive leader and his loyalists that they are running out of places to hide. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo) #
A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter scans the frontline with his binoculars in the city of Bani Walid on September 20, 2011, where Libyan authorities claim Muammar Qaddafi's son Seif al-Islam is holed up. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter fires a weapon during a battle with Qaddafi loyalists near Sirte, on September 26, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter fires his rifle at Qaddafi loyalists in a village near Sirte, one of Muammar Qaddafi's last remaining strongholds, on September 17, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
An injured revolutionary fighter in an ambulance near Sirte, Libya, on September 16, 2011. In Sirte, Muammar Qaddafi's backers rained gunfire down from mosque minarets and high-rise buildings on fighters pushing into the city from the west. In the streets the two sides battered each other with high-caliber machine guns, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo) #
A rebel on crutches fires a rocket propelled grenade while fighting on the front line in Sirte, on September 24, 2011 (Reuters/Anis Mili) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter salvages weapons at a pro-Qaddafi weapons and ammunition compound in a village near Sirte, on September 19, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
Anti-Qaddafi fighters sit on a Soviet-made SCUD missile outside a village near Sirte, on September 21, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter wears an animal skin as he advances towards Sirte, on September 26, 2011. (Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori) #
Women train with weapons in Benghazi, Libya, on September 25, 2011. Revolutionary forces are offering military training to women who are lining up to protect their cities and themselves if Muammar Qaddafi's forces try to return. The fugitive leader had a contingent of female bodyguards when he was in power but otherwise, women generally have stayed on the sidelines in this conservative Islamic society. (AP Photo/Rami al-Shaheibi) #
A Chinook helicopter used by Libya's interim government to transport injured people takes off from a field hospital set up about 50 km (31 miles) west of Muammar Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte, on September 26, 2011. (Reuters/Anis Mili) #
A medic comforts an anti-Qaddafi fighter as he mourns his comrade, killed by a pro-Qaddafi sniper inside the besieged city of Bani Walid, on September 21, 2011. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra) #
A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) official shows journalists on September 25, 2011 what is believed to be a human jawbone found in a mass grave with the remains of more than 1,700 prisoners that NTC said were executed in 1996 at Tripoli's notorious Abu Salim prison. International rights groups had for years urged Muammar Qaddafi's regime to come clean about the fate of prisoners killed at the jail during a 1996 riot. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images) #
A woman looks at pictures of anti-Qaddafi fighters, killed during the current revolution, hanging on the wall of a court house in Liberation square in Benghazi, September 10, 2011. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter walks past a Roman statue outside the Old Sirte City Museum, at an area of Sultan that fighters took over from pro-Qaddafi forces, around 50 km east of Sirte, on September 23, 2011. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
Graffiti depicting Libya's ousted Muammar Qaddafi, right, and his public relations officer Youssef Shakhir with a rat's tail and holding prayer beads, on a street in Tripoli, Libya, on September 20, 2011. Libyan graffiti artists are taking advantage of newfound freedom to make fun of ousted leader Muammar Qaddafi on the streets of Tripoli, after 42-years of authoritarian rule artists feel able to express themselves in public spaces. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) #
A Libyan street vendor displays posters and stickers mocking Muammar Qaddafi at a stall in Tripoli's Marty's Square on September 25, 2011. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images) #
A young girl in traditional Libyan dress poses for photographs at a charity event to raise money for those who suffered during the recent fighting between National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters and Muammar Qaddafi loyalists in central Tripoli, on September 19, 2011. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images) #
Anti-Qaddafi fighters walk in a pigeon farm in Qaddafi house compound in Assdada Fort, some 170 km (105 miles) southwest of Sirte, on September 13, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter tries to put out a fire at a burning house believed to belong to a Qaddafi loyalist in Tripoli, on September 20, 2011. Citizens in the neighborhood burnt several houses belonging to senior military officers they called Qaddafi loyalists. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem) #
Anti-Qaddafi fighters patrol in the town of Herawa, about 50 km (31 miles) east of Sirte, on September 21, 2011. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
A fighter of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) fires at pro-Qaddafi forces during heavy battles at the entrance of Al-Etha'a street, about 7 kilometers (4 milers) from the heart of Sirte, Libya, on September 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Amru Salahuddien) #
Anti-Qaddafi fighters pray at a checkpoint near the town of Abu Grein, some 160 km (100 miles) west of Sirte, on September 12, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
An anti-Qaddafi fighter pushes a prisoner from Chad who they said is a Qaddafi militiaman, as they drive him away from the frontline in the besieged Libyan desert town of Bani Walid, on September 18, 2011. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra) #
An ostrich, meant to be eaten, is pictured at a field camp for anti-Qaddafi fighters near Sirte, on September 23, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
Anti-Qaddafi fighters fire a heavy artillery piece near Sirte, one of Muammar Qaddafi's last remaining strongholds, on September 23, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
The hand of a dead anti-Qaddafi fighter hangs down in a field hospital near Sirte, Libya, on September 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo) #
Anti-Qaddafi fighters exchange fire with pro-Qaddafi forces, about 6 km (4 miles) from Sirte, on September 26, 2011. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih) #
A Qaddafi loyalist walks on a road carrying a bottle of water and two bananas, on his way home after being released by anti-Qaddafi fighters outside a village near Sirte, on September 21, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #

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