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Sept. 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM   |   0 comments

NTC forces recapture Sirte airport

SIRTE, Libya, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Libyan interim government forces regained control of the airport in Sirte, one of the few strongholds of forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.

The BBC reported Thursday that National Transitional Council fighters were tearing down symbols of the Gadhafi regime in the airport in Sirte, the ousted leader's birthplace.

NTC forces had taken control of the airport about 3 miles from the city center two weeks ago but were driven back by Gadhafi loyalists.

NTC forces, however, continued to face fire from rockets and guns, the BBC said.

NTC fighters coming from the west and east plan to attack Gadhafi loyalists in hopes of pushing them toward the sea and reducing their presence to smaller areas of the city, while NATO planes struck targets including ammunition-storage facilities.

The NTC forces also had recently seized Sirte's port.

Heavy fighting has taken place in recent days in Sirte and the other remaining stronghold of Gadhafi loyalists, Bani Walid.

NTC officials said they believe Gadhafi is hiding in the southern desert of Libya.

Meanwhile, the fugitive leader's spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, has been arrested by NTC fighters near Sirte, Freedom TV, Misurata, reported.


Interpol issues Red Notice for Gadhafi son

LYON, France, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Interpol put out an international alert Thursday for Saadi Gadhafi, a son of Libya's deposed leader, at the request of the country's transitional government.

Interpol, the international police agency, said Saadi Gadhafi, 38, is wanted for allegedly misappropriating properties when he headed Libya's soccer federation and was "allegedly involved in the repression of demonstrations by civilians during Libya's uprising" as a commander of military units.

In its Red Notice, Interpol said it has confirmed reports ousted Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi's third son was last seen in Niger and called for help locating and arresting him and returning him to Libya, where a warrant for his arrest has been issued. The Red Notice for Saadi Gadhafi marked the first issued at the request of the interim government, the National Transitional Council, Interpol said.

"The Interpol Red Notice against Saadi Gadhafi will significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders," Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble said in a release. "It is a powerful tool that will help authorities locate and arrest him."

An NTC official told The New York Times Wednesday that Moammar Gadhafi likely was hiding near the Algerian border and being protected by nomadic tribesmen who have fought for him.

The official also told the Times another Gadhafi son, Saif Gadhafi, likely was hiding in Bani Walid, a Gadhafi loyalists' stronghold, and another son, Mutassi Gadhafi, a militia commander and former national security adviser, was probably in Sirte on the Mediterranean coast.


Poll: Californians favor life sentences

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A majority of Californians want to keep the death penalty on the books but a majority now prefer life without parole to execution, a poll found.

A Field Poll conducted this month found 68 percent of voters want to keep the death penalty, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. For the first time, though, more respondents (48 percent) said they prefer people convicted of first-degree murder receive life without parole instead of the death penalty (40 percent).

In 2000, 44 percent of voters preferred the death penalty, while 37 chose life in prison, Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said.

While legal, executions have been on hold in California since 2006 due to a lawsuit challenging the state's lethal injection method.


Earthquake shakes northeastern Japan

TOKYO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A magnitude-5.4 earthquake Thursday evening shook the region of northeastern Japan that includes the Fukushima nuclear power plant, authorities said.

Kyodo news service reported the Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake occurred near the coast of Fukushima at 7:05 p.m.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said no problems had been reported at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was heavily damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The 9-magnitude quake and tsunami killed or left missing about 20,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

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