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Battle to free Libya ‘not finished’, NTC says

The battle to free Libya of the Gaddafi regime is not over, the Number 2 in the National Transitional Council, Mahmud Jibril said Thursday. He added that there are still cities in southern Libya besieged by the old regime.

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AFP - National Transitional Council number two Mahmud Jibril said Thursday "the battle of liberation is not finished," on his first visit to Tripoli since last month's fall of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

"Our biggest challenge is still ahead," Jibril told a news conference. "The battle of liberation is not finished."

On preparations to overrun Kadhafi's last strongholds after the failure of negotiations for a peaceful surrender ahead of an NTC deadline of Saturday, he said: "We have the right to defend ourselves even before the deadline."

Jibril said there were still cities in southern Libya besieged by the old regime and other cities like Syrte and Bani Walid where the situation was unresolved.

The deadline for negotiations to bear fruit had been extended by NTC chairman Mustapha Abdel Jalil in good faith to avoid further bloodshed between Libyans.

"Unfortunately, this chance was violated and exploited by putting more soldiers and fomenting Libyans to kill each other. We don't really see that the other side truly wants to take a chance and avoid bloodshed," Jibril said.

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