Libyan forces push into Gaddafi's hometown Sirte

At the same time, the political leadership sought to boost its authority, promising to announce an interim government. Explosions rocked the city of Sirte and smoke rose into the sky as Gaddafi's forces fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at the fighters.

Ambulances sped from the direction of the front line, and a doctor said at least one fighter was killed and 25 others wounded in the battle. The two sides have been locked in a standoff since former rebels tried to advance on the city a week ago but were repelled by fierce resistance.

More than a month since the then-rebels swept into Tripoli and pushed Gaddafi out of power, they are still struggling to overcome his remaining strongholds in the centre of the country and the south.

In the capital Tripoli, a series of explosions were heard and a huge plume of smoke rose over the harbor area this afternoon. The cause of the blasts was not immediately known. So far, since the revolutionaries took over in early August, there have been no significant attacks in the capital.

The National Transitional Council, which was the leadership of the rebellion, is now Libya's formal rulers, though it is still working to establish its authority. Today, the council's chief Mustafa Abdul-Jalil announced that the council will announce a new interim government in the coming week.

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