Col. Muammar Qaddafi is still in Libya, his supporters are still fighting, and a surge by the country's new leadership failed to capture a town that is one of the long-time strongman's densest centers of support. What has looked for weeks like the final throes of the Qaddafi regime apparently drags on.
The forces of the National Transitional Council have seized an airport south of Sirte, Qaddafi's birthplace, Bloomberg reported, but they faced "fierce" resistance from loyalists. And a siege of Bani Walid, another stronghold of pro-Qaddafi fighters, fell short, according to a Reuters report. The opposition "licked their wounds" after the battle, Reuters reported, while Qaddafi's spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, called the wire service to charge that NATO's airstrikes in Sirte had killed 354 civilians.
"We are aware of these allegations," Colonel Roland Lavoie, spokesman for the Western military alliance, said in Brussels. "It is not the first time such allegations have been made. Most often, they are revealed to be unfounded or inconclusive."
The death toll could not be verified as communications with the coastal city have been scant since Tripoli fell on August 23.