Forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) have entered Bani Walid, one of Colonel Gaddafi’s remaining strongholds.
A Nato official has confirmed to Reuters that "Nato aircraft have been operating in the area today". Airstrikes have been reported in and around the town, following a seven day standoff between NTC troops and those still loyal to the deposed leader.
According to The Guardian, rebel forces were met by “fierce resistance from up to 600 fighters, sustaining rocket and grenade attacks.” It is also reported that NTC fighters, who have since retreated to their position outside the town, took prisoners.
According to Sky News, Gaddafi’s voice is being broadcast within the town, urging his supporters to rise up and fight. “This is zero hour,” he is reported to have said. “Those who don’t fight will go to hell.”
The loyalists within the town are believed to be under the command of Saif-al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son and one-time heir.
Last Saturday, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the Nation Transitional Council, gave remaining Gaddafi forces seven days to surrender. That deadline has now elapsed.