TRIPOLI/SANAA, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Fighters from Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) continued their battles Saturday with the remnant forces of Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte, the fallen leader's hometown, causing casualties on both sides as well as to the civilians.
The NTC troops ran up against heavy shootings by snipers loyal to Gaddafi at Sirte's western entrance, while explosions could be heard from inside the town, which had witnessed weeks of clashes, reported a Xinhua photographer near Sirte.
At the demand of the international Red Cross members, the NTC fighters once stopped firing so the vehicles carrying the wounded could leave the war-torn town, he said.
Sirte has been running out of drinking water, electricity and adequate food supply with residents continuing to flee the stronghold.
In Tripoli, a source close to the NTC denied reports that Moussa Ibrahim, spokesman of the fallen Muammar Gaddafi administration, had been arrested.
The reports are completely untrue, and the spokesman is still at large, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. And the arrest was probably of one of Ibrahim's family members.
In Tunis, Baghdadi Mahmoudi, the former Libyan prime minister who has been kept in custody by the Tunisian general prosecutor after a Libyan summons, was mulling political asylum in Tunisia, local media reported Saturday, citing his lawyer.
Baghdadi, who began a hunger strike on Thursday to protest his continued detention, had previously been acquitted by a Tunis appeals court after being sentenced by a court in Tozeur to six months imprisonment for illegally entering the country.
Earlier, his lawyer slammed as "illegal" his detention in the Mornaguia prison, some 14 km from the Tunisian capital of Tunis.
In Yemen, the country's Defense Ministry said Saturday that three soldiers were killed and 10 others were injured in ongoing battles between government forces and dozens of al-Qaida militants in the restive southern province of Abyan.
Troops from the southern military bases Saturday morning cleared the remained parts of Zinjibar city, the provincial capital of Abyan province, forcing dozens of terrorists to flee to other safer regions, the ministry said in a statement.
Also on Saturday, a leading member of the Yemen-based al-Qaida wing confirmed to Xinhua that Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric and one of the group's top leaders, was killed in a U.S. drone strike outside the town of Khashef in Yemen's northeastern mountainous province of Jawf.
The terrorist group member said on condition of anonymity that al-Qaida militants had lost contacts with al-Awlaki since Friday dawn after receiving information from their counterparts in Jawf and Marib provinces, some 140 km east of the capital Sanaa, that Awlaki's convoy was pounded in a U.S. drone raid.
In the latest development of the mass protests following President Ali Abdullah Saleh's return to Yemen, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters Friday staged rallies across the country to press Saleh to resign, in a relatively calm way after week-long deadly clashes between Saleh's troops and the defected army.
The anti-government protesters dubbed the day as "Friday of victory for Yemen and Syria," in reference to a joint cooperation between protesters in the two countries.
"Freedom for Yemen ... People want to build new Yemen," the protesters chanted after they finished their midday Friday prayers.
The protesters also called on the international community to adopt a strict stance against what they said "the violence against the protesters."
Saleh's supporters also gathered in a massive rally by thousands of demonstrators in Sabeen Street nearby Saleh's presidential palace in Sanaa, calling the day "Friday of dialogue."
Special Report: Foreign Military Intervention in Libya