Libya's revolution returns to Bin Jawad, this time they say for good [VIDEO]
Anti-Qaddafi militias have almost retaken Bin Jawad, the last major town east of Sirte, Muammar Qaddafi's hometown and last major stronghold. They insist they've learned from past mistakes.
Col. Ahmed Bani, the military spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), says revolutionary militias now have the town of Bin Jawad -- a dusty outpost on the coastal desert between the eastern city of Ajdabiyah and Muammar Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte that has changed hands at least three times in Libya's six-month-old war.Skip to next paragraph
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If so, it would represent a tightening of the noose around Qaddafi's last major bastion, much in the same way steady, methodical gains around Tripoli in the last monthset the stage for the capital's fall. Libyan revolutionaries are firmly in control of Misrata to Sirte's west, and have been dispatching troops towards the city from that direction. Bin Jawad would provide a platform to squeeze Sirte from the east, and be a major bargaining chip in the hands of interim Libyan leaders who say they're hoping for a negotiated surrender of Sirte rather than an all out assault.
To be sure, Col. Bani's claim of holding Bin Jawad may be premature. Three fighters who returned to Benghazi from the front east of Bin Jawad on Saturday were recalled to fight there today. And the anti-Qaddafi militias have learned from bitter experience in Bin Jawad. In early March, the town fell to them with barely a shot being fired. That day, the still raw guerrillas spent the afternoon torching the local shrine to Qaddafi's hated Green Book and celebrating, while regime forces regrouped in private homes, emerging on an offensive that cost dozens of lives and drove the revolutionaries back out of town.
Much the same happened again in April, with Qaddafi's fighters ambushing revolutionaries in town and then peppered their retreat east with mortars and grad rockets. Now, far more skilled and methodical, the guerrillas say they're taking the time to do the job right. The fighters say they were now in the process of clearing Bin Jawad house by house to make sure Qaddafi's forces were not left inside.