Rebels Advance Toward Gadhafi Hometown

Plus: NATO will assume command of all aerial operations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2011 3:02 PM CDT
Libya Protests: Rebels Advance Toward Sirte, Moammar Gadhafi's Hometown, as NATO Announces it Will Assume Aerial Command
Libyan rebels who are part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi celebrate their victory in the oil town of Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 5, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

Libyan state television reports that international airstrikes are targeting Moammar Gadhafi's hometown and stronghold of Sirte for the first time. Foreign journalists in the city reported loud explosions and warplanes flying overheard. Sirte is strategically located about halfway between the rebel-held east and the Gadhafi-controlled west along a key coastal highway. Rebels were advancing rapidly west on the highway today toward Sirte after international airstrikes eased their way.

An AP reporter in the capital said international forces were also heavily bombarding the city that is Gadhafi's main support base. There were at least nine loud explosions in Tripoli after nightfall and anti-aircraft fire was heard. Meanwhile, the AP also notes that officials announced today NATO will assume command of all aerial operations in Libya from the US-led force that has been conducting air strikes against Gadhafi's forces. The alliance's top body approved a plan to expand a previously agreed mission to enforce the UN arms embargo and no-fly zone. (More Libya stories.)

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