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Heightened Security in Libya's Capital Following Clashes

VOA News October 15, 2011

Libya's provisional government has stepped up security in Tripoli after clashes between its forces and fighters loyal to former leader Moammar Gadhafi left three people dead.

The National Transitional Council (NTC) said Saturday that its forces were conducting searches and working to clear that capital of armed Gadhafi loyalists.

On Friday, explosions rocked Tripoli as intense gun battles erupted between provisional government forces and pro-Gadhafi forces, in the first major clash since the NTC took control of the capital in August.

The NTC says the unrest began after loyalists who had gathered for a pro-Gadhafi rally began shooting.

Also Saturday, NTC fighters are battling pockets of resistance in Mr. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte.

On Friday, the fighters said they had cornered pro-Gadhafi forces in a two square kilometer area of the coastal town.

NTC officials have said the capture of Sirte would allow them to declare the country liberated, because it would mean the provisional government controls all of Libya's ports and harbors.

Sirte is 360 kilometers east of Libya's capital, Tripoli, and has served as a center of support for Mr. Gadhafi. Provisional government forces have been trying to take the town for three weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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