Street fighting has raged in Sirte for a second day as troops loyal to Libya’s transitional government confront the remnants of ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.
Interim authority forces seized control of a key boulevard, isolating a conference centre where Gaddafi loyalists have been holed up.
Thousands of civilians remain trapped.
Once Sirte falls, Libya’s leaders say they will declare liberation, even if Col Gaddafi remains on the run.
“There is a very vicious battle now in Sirte,” said National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil in the capital Tripoli.
“Today our fighters are dealing with the snipers that are taking positions and hiding in the city of Sirte.”
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — Yemen President Ali Abdallah Saleh said Saturday he would step down in coming days, but his senior aides immediately added that such a departure would occur only if a power transfer agreement is reached.
“I reject power and I will reject power in the coming days and I will leave power in the coming days,” Saleh told Parliament Saturday, a day after massive demonstrations demanded his ouster. “But there are men who will not let go of power. There are men — who are sincere to God, whether they are civilians or military — who can take hold of the nation. It’s impossible that they will ruin the nation.”
Following the remarks, senior Saleh officials said the president did not intend to say that he will be leaving within days, and added that he would step down only if a transition plan is approved. That plan was hammered out by the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional bloc of Gulf Arab nations.
“Saleh will not step down unless the GCC power transfer proposal is signed. He will not leave power if the proposal is not signed,” government spokesman Abdu Ganadi said.