Gaddafi son defending Bani Walid

2011-10-04 22:09

Bani Walid - Seif al-Islam, the best-known son of fallen Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, is leading the final stand of loyalists in Bani Walid against NTC forces, a commander with the new regime said on Tuesday.

The town some 170km southeast of Tripoli and Gaddafi's coastal hometown of Sirte on the coast to the northeast are the two final strongholds resisting assault by National Transitional Council forces.

"We captured a general from the pro-Gaddafi brigades, and he said Seif al-Islam is in Bani Walid and directing military operations there," an NTC commander, Adel Benyur, told journalists.

The country's new rulers have been trying for weeks to take Sirte and Bani Walid, where NTC fighters have been unable to progress further than the outskirts of the vast desert oasis despite nearly a month of combat.

However, an offensive on Bani Walid is imminent, Benyur said.

"Most of the town's inhabitants have left, and that will make it easier for us to attack in the next two days," he said.

Seif al-Islam, at one time widely viewed as Gaddafi's heir-apparent, had presented himself as a reformer who wanted to make Libya more open, before showing his true colours after the uprising broke out in February.

On June 27, the International Criminal Court issued a war crimes arrest warrant for Gaddafi, Seif al-Islam and the former head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, for murder and persecution in the bloody uprising.

Read more on:    seif al-islam gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa  |  uprisings
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