Clashes in Libyan Town That Once Was Qaddafi Stronghold

Fighting has flared up over last three days


Pro-government forces clashed Friday with fighters in a former stronghold of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi for the third consecutive day, the spokesman for the Libyan military's chief of staff said, after talks to end the standoff broke down.

Violence has flared periodically over the last year in Bani Walid, the most significant town in Libya still resisting the country's new authorities since the end of the country's civil war last year.

Fighters of the pro-government Libya Shield militia had besieged the town, some 90 miles southeast of Tripoli, for several weeks, blaming residents for the death of a well-known anti-Gadhafi rebel. On Wednesday, they launched a mortar and artillery barrage on the town, followed by a ground assault, saying that negotiations to hand over the suspects in the killing had failed.