Libya: Rebels attack last Gaddafi stronghold in W.Mountains

July 30, 2011 14:29

HAWAMID, Libya - Rebels have encircled Muammar Gaddafi's last stronghold in Libya's Western Mountain region and hope to seize it soon, a commander said on Saturday.

Rebel tanks fired at Tiji, where an estimated 500 government troops are stationed, and the blasts could be heard from the nearby town of Hawamid, which was captured on Thursday in a new offensive against the army.

"We have Tiji surrounded and we hope to take it by the end of the day," rebel commander Nasir al Hamdi, a former colonel in Gaddafi's police force, told Reuters as gunfire crackled in the distance and he surveyed a battleground scattered with tank shell casings and government anti-aircraft bullets.

Despite inferior firepower and little experience, rebels have captured several towns and villages where government forces had been dug in along plains below the Western Mountains this week.

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