OUTSIDE BANI WALID, Libya - Grumbles replaced gunfire outside the Muammar Gaddafi bastion of Bani Walid on Saturday as Libyan interim government fighters sat in the morning sun discussing their defeat the day before, as occasional mortar bombs whistled towards them.
The mortar fire from the town's defenders, loyal to Libya's old leader, only aggravated the anti-Gaddafi men's humiliation."It was difficult," admitted one fighter, surprised he had survived a hail of sniper fire and rockets when his brigade raced into Bani Walid on Friday. "We'll do it differently next time."
The mood could not have been more different to the one on Saturday when ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) forces, who had waited outside the town through more than two weeks of abortive negotiations for its surrender, were finally given the order to take it with a full-on military assault.