BANI WALID (LIBYA): Libyan fighters have raised the new government's flag over the oasis of Bani Walid and hope for the swift fall of Sirte, the other remaining redoubt of Muammar Gaddafi diehards.
"The city of Bani Walid has been completely liberated," said Saif al-Lasi, a commander of the Zliten Brigade, one of the National Transitional Council's units which took part in the final assault launched on Sunday.
The overall commander of NTC forces in the city, Musa Yunis, said all resistance from loyalist forces had ceased by late yesterday.
"Gaddafi's troops left their vehicles behind and even changed into civilian clothing so they would be hard to find," he said.
"There is no resistance in Bani Walid anymore. Most of Gaddafi's troops have fled, and those who remain are not causing problems."
Meanwhile, pro-Gaddafi forces fired rockets and small arms at the now ruling NTC's fighters deployed on the eastern edge of two Sirte neighbourhoods as a field commander said he expected tense fighting today.
Cries of Allahu Akhbar (God is greatest) and bursts of celebratory machine gun fire filled the desert air over the centre of Bani Walid, as NTC troops feted their capture of the loyalist bastion after a six-week siege.
The desert region's Warfala tribe was a major recruiting ground for elite units of Gaddafi's regime and devotion to the fugitive strongman runs deep.