Tuesday 17 October 2017

Fall of Gaddafi stronghold is 'close'

National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters take part in a street battle in the center of Sirte on October 12. Photo: Getty Images
National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters take part in a street battle in the center of Sirte on October 12. Photo: Getty Images

Daniel Bentley

The fall of the last remaining major stronghold of forces loyal to ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is "getting very close", the UK’s Defence Secretary said today.

Liam Fox held out the prospect of an imminent conclusion to the battle for Sirte that would bring an end to the wider conflict in Libya, where British forces have been deployed since March.



"We are getting very close to the fall of Sirte, which I think may bring the Libyan conflict to a close," he told reporters amid continuing questions about his relationship with lobbyist Adam Werritty.



"That is what I have to focus all my attention on."



He was speaking after a meeting of the National Security Council and a discussion with Foreign Secretary William Hague.



While the Libyan capital Tripoli fell in August, loyalists to the former regime have continued to hold out in Sirte - Gaddafi's home town - against the rebels.



Mr Hague is due to make an oral statement to the Commons today on developments in Libya and the wider region.



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