SIRTE- Libyan interim government forces backed by NATO warplanes swarmed into Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte on Saturday but encountered heavy sniper fire as they tried to win control of one of the deposed leader's last strongholds.
Black smoke billowed over Sirte as National Transitional Council (NTC) forces massed in Zafran Square about 1 km (half a mile) from the center of the Mediterranean coastal town.
Gunfire could be heard from the town center as the forces moved tanks and mortars to the square. Pick-up trucks mounted with machine-guns and loaded with NTC fighters raced into the town and ambulances hurtled back and forth ferrying casualties.
NATO, whose warplanes played a vital role in the six-month war that toppled Gaddafi, said its planes hit a number of targets in Sirte in the last 24 hours, including an ammunition depot and an anti-aircraft gun.
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