Sirte, Oct 13 : Libya's new regime fighters today retreated under heavy fire from Muammar Gaddafi diehards in his hometown Sirte as their leaders backtracked on an announcement they had captured one of his sons.
The fighters, who had been hoping to mop up the last pockets of resistance in two northwestern residential districts, withdrew to the police headquarters they had captured on Tuesday, said an AFP reporter. Commanders of the forces loyal to the National Transitional Council (NTC) said the Gaddafi diehards were cornered in an area of about two square kilometres of the Mediterranean city.
As heavy artillery fire was heard in the city's west and thick black smoke rose over the waterfront to the north, ambulances with sirens ablaze ferried the many wounded out for treatment.
Four pro-NTC fighters were killed, including two by friendly fire, and another 40 were wounded, mostly by sniper fire, said Rawad Friwan, a surgeon at a field hospital on Sirte's western outskirts.
“Earlier in the day, we had been engaged in street fighting, but we have stopped. The pro-Gaddafi fighters have been firing rockets, mortars and bombs at us,” said Fayisal Ahmed Bringo, a new regime fighter.“There are still 500 pro-Gaddafi fighters in Sirte and our forces today arrested 15” of them, he said.