NEW: One dead, 12 injured in Tripoli fire at a naval fuel storage facility
NATO carried out bombing campaign on Sirte from Saturday into Sunday
Anti-Gadhafi fighters claim progress in fight against Sirte's Gadhafi loyalists
NTC fighters suffer 30 injuries in the offensive
Anti-Gadhafi forces Saturday claimed a new military advance into the deposed Libyan dictator’s hometown Sirte, while a fuel storage warehouse fire at the port of the country’s capital city Tripoli in the west sent plumes of smoke into the air.
National Transitional Council forces took a neighborhood previously held by remnants still loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, according to a spokesman. Twenty-four hours of NATO aerial bombardments preceded the advance.
The western military alliance “struck a series of targets (Gadhafi) forces used in order to threaten the civilian population of Sirte,” NATO said in a statement.
“Among the reports emerging from Sirte are executions, hostage-taking, and the calculated targeting of individuals, families, and communities within the city,” according to NATO, which also pointed to the involvement of mercenaries on the pro-Gadhafi side and denial of civilian access to food, water and medical care.
Targets included a munitions stash, a command post and three large guns.
During the advance, NTC fighters “removed all the Gadhafi loyalists’ checkpoints in that area, allowing for more revolutionaries to enter the town for the first time,” said spokesman Adel Ghuleak with the NTC in Misrata. He said senior Gadhafi military members were in the neighborhood, a claim CNN is not able to confirm.
Thirty NTC fighters sustained injuries in the push, Ghuleak said.
One person died after a navy fuel warehouse at caught fire Saturday afternoon in Tripoli’s port, according to a local physician. Twelve more suffered smoke inhalation, said Dr. Tarek Abu Selim, from Tripoli Central Hospital, who was at the scene during the fire.
NTC security arrived at the scene and secured the surrounding area, blocking roads leading to the burning site and firing into the air to drive back dozens of onlookers. Journalists’ access was limited.
Sporadic explosions could be heard in the Libyan capital for an hour as the fire spread. The blaze has since been extinguished and the explosions ceased.
A fire crew sprayed water on a ship docked near the warehouse, but it was not clear if the ship was burning.
Libya’s NTC is to hold an urgent meeting Sunday to discuss the formation of an interim government, a senior council member told CNN Friday.
Mohammed Naser, the council member, said the formation of a government could take up to one week, but NTC members agreed that the interim government would include a premier, a vice premier, and 22 ministers.
Earlier in the week, Elamin Belhaj, a senior member of the NTC, told CNN the formation of a Libyan government would not be announced until anti-Gadhafi forces controlled the borders of the country and liberated three cities that still remained under loyalist control – Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha – a task that could take up to one month, he said.
The NTC, he said, will expand as cities are liberated in order to give representation to all regions of the country. Ultimately, the council could have approximately 80 members; it currently has 43.
Elections for a National Congress is slated to take place in eight months. At the creation of the congress, the interim government will cease to exist.
Journalist Mohammed Fahmy and CNN’s Thomas Evans contributed to this report.