SIRTE, Libya - Sniper fire flashed out from the defenders of Muammar Gaddafi's hometown Sirte as fighters loyal to the new government seized the airport and ripped down billboards of the fugitive former leader.
Hundreds of soldiers rode into the battle on tanks or pick-ups mounted with guns but by nightfall, pockets of Gaddafi loyalists were still resisting from within the city on Libya's central Mediterranean coast.
Sirte is one of Gaddafi's last, isolated bastions but whether he is there or not is not known.
"The group around Gaddafi, all of them believe that Sirte is powerful. But once it falls, that's it, it's over," said fighter Younes Tarjamon on a road littered with bullet and shell casings.