Libya's provisional government said on Thursday that its forces had reached the outskirts of toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte -- still controlled by his loyalits.
"It has been a major advance today," ruling National Transitional Council spokesman Jalal el-Gallal told Reuters.
"They are on the outskirts."
Until earlier this week, repeated attempted advances by anti-Gaddafi based in the Misrata area had been blocked more than 50 km from Sirte.
Sirte is one of Gaddafi's last main bastions along with the towns of Bani Walid and Sabha.