NATO intensifies strikes in Libya's Bani Walid

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Brussels, Aug 31: NATO said today (Aug 31) that it bombed several targets near Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte and Bani Walid, a town southeast of Tripoli that rebels say is a possible hideout for the fugitive leader.

The alliance stepped up air strikes in the vicinity of Bani Walid on Tuesday, destroying three surface-to-surface missile launchers, one ammunition storage facility, one tank and rocket launcher storage facility and an unspecified military facility, according to NATO's daily operations update.

NATO had only hit five other targets in Bani Walid in the past week, three on Monday and two others in the previous seven days, according to alliance figures.

The mission's military spokesman, Colonel Roland Lavoie, said Tuesday that the NATO-led coalition was now focusing on "the corridor between Bani Walid and the eastern edge of Sirte."

NATO struck 35 targets around Sirte on Monday alone and continued the barrage on Tuesday, hitting 12 vehicles mounted with weapons, three tanks, one command and control facility, one command post, one radar, and another military facility.

Omar Hariri, head of military affairs for the rebels, said Tuesday that Gaddafi may be hiding in Bani Walid or in the outskirts of the capital. But he stressed that since Libya is in a state of war information changes rapidly. 

AFP

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