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NTC forces prepare to take Sirte

A day after entering Moamer Kadhafi's hometown in a surprise assault, Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) forces on Sunday (September 25th) suspended their assault on the coastal city of Sirte to allow NATO warplanes to blast the regime stronghold, AFP reported. "We were ordered to leave downtown Sirte because NATO has a mission to do there," frontline fighter Ahmed Mohammed Tajuri said. On Saturday, NTC fighters used tanks and pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns to clear away roadblocks set up by Kadhafi forces and drove towards the Sirte city centre, erecting their own defences in advanced positions.

"African mercenaries roaming across the city…are firing at houses with anti-aircraft guns," said a resident who managed to flee.

In a statement, NATO addressed the deteriorating humanitarian situation for the 75,000 residents of the besieged city.

"Among the reports emerging from Sirte are executions, hostage-taking, and the calculated targeting of individuals, families, and communities within the city," NATO said.

Heavy fighting also raged in Bani Walid, the only other remaining pro-Kadhafi bastion.

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