Pro-Gaddafi forces fired anti-aircraft guns at fighters holding the northern gate of Bani Walid, some 140 kilometers southeast of the capital Tripoli, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
On Friday, revolutionary forces were forced to retreat after entering the town when they encountered fierce resistance from Gaddafi regime loyalists. Revolutionaries are now preparing for a new attack.
“We entered the city, 600 meters from the city center, but we didn’t have enough forces so we lost the position and had to retreat,” a revolutionary fighter said on Monday.
Revolutionary forces have made more progress in tightening the grip on the city of Sirte, which is still under the control of Gaddafi forces. Fighters shelled Gaddafi’s hometown with Grad rockets on Monday.
Hundreds of families fled the violence in Sirte on Monday as humanitarian conditions were reported to be alarming in the city.
“There’s no electricity, no phone coverage. There’s just some water really, but nothing else apart from that,” one of the residents of the city said.
Abdullah Kenshil, a senior official in the National Transitional Council (NTC), said the fight for control of Bani Walid was a “done deal” that would be completed in the next two days.
The NTC official added that Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, the most prominent son of the country’s fugitive ruler, has for “۱۰۰ percent certain” been seen in the stronghold of Bani Walid.
Kenshil said those fighting against revolutionary forces for control of the troubled town are not “necessarily Gaddafi brigade but mercenaries from Chad, Niger and Togo.”
On Saturday, the NTC issued its “last warning” to forces loyal to the fugitive dictator to surrender or face treason charges, in response to a Friday statement released by Gaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim saying that there would be a long war in the two cities despite NATO airstrikes.
Libya has been the scene of intense fighting between government troops and revolutionary fighters since a revolution seeking to topple Gaddafi began in mid-February.
Tripoli fell on August 23 and Gaddafi fled from the capital. Revolutionaries are currently trying to capture the last remaining Gaddafi bastions.