Intense fighting continued Monday in Sirte, hometown of fallen leader Moammar Gadhafi, resulting in the death of eight fighters of Libya' s ruling National Transitional Council, the NTC said. Another 39 were wounded.

With barrages of rocket and tank fire raking the city centre, hundreds of civilians have escaped from the town. But still there are many more who are unable or unwilling to leave.

NTC forces have brought in most of their artillery to try to dislodge the loyalists who have been resisting them for the past three weeks. Strong resistance by the remnant Gadhafi forces has been upsetting the plans of NTC forces. Sirte is the major holdout remaining for the old regime, and the NTC has failed to take it with several assaults in the past weeks.

NTC forces had observed a truce until Sunday to encourage the remaining civilians to get out before launching this new offensive.

While NTC believes one of Gadhafi's sons, Muatassim, is holed up in Sirte, NATO planes continued their strike missions.

With mounting concern for people trapped by bombardment of the surrounded town, aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross have brought medical supplies into Sirte.