Libyan forces enter Gaddafi's birthplace
Libyan rebels backed by heavy shelling started to advance late Monday into Sirte, one of the last bastions of fugitive leader Moamer Gaddafi's supporters, Arab media reported.
The rebels have entered the town of Qasr Abu Hadi, Gaddafi's birthplace, Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera reported.
Qasr Abui Hadi, with 4,890 inhabitants 20 kilometers south of Sirte, is where Gaddafi was reportedly born in a nomad tent in 1942. According to reports, most of the town was empty as residents have fled, DPA reported.
Overtaking Qasr Abu Hadi by the Libyan rebels was seen as victory in their battle to capture the last bastions of Gaddafi's 42-year rule.
The remaining residents seemed afraid to speak to reporters entering the town and said they were caught in crossfire between Gaddafi loyalists and the rebels.
Libyan rebel forces began bombarding the loyalist stronghold of Sirte on Monday after a two-day lull in fighting, a military officer told Al Jazeera.
Hundreds of civilians evacuated the town earlier Monday, taking advantage of the lull, but according to Arab television many remained out of fear of leaving their homes.
In the Libyan capital, the head of the newly formed Tripoli Military Council, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, called for an end of the heavy armed presence inside the city.
"We want to enforce stability inside the city, and all arms other than the ones licensed by the military council are not supposed to stay on the streets," Belhaj said in a press conference late Monday.
Earlier, the National Transitional Council announced a reshuffle in the executive office, the rebels' government, which would run Libya until the country is completely "liberated."