Columns of anti-Qaddafi forces entered Bani Walid on Friday after their position came under attack and one of their number said they were planning to take the town, one of the last bastions of support for the ousted Libyan leader.
“We have received orders from our commanders and we are going into Bani Walid today from different locations,” anti-Qaddafi fighter Mohammed Jwaida told Reuters at a factory 15 miles (20 km) north of the city, where the rebels were dug in.
“We were planning to do this today anyway but Qaddafi forces launched this attack to prevent our advance. They thought we would run away, they are cowards,” he said.
“We have about a thousand fighters here today,” he said, adding that they would not use heavy artillery because “we do not want to harm civilians.”