SIRTE (AFP) - Forces of Libya's new regime were moving in for the kill against Moamer Gaddafi's diehards in his hometown on Wednesday after meeting little resistance and taking several key objectives. A day after seizing Sirte's police headquarters, the National Transitional Council forces were still closing in from the east and west on ever smaller pockets of pro-Gaddafi forces. Hundreds of NTC combatants in dozens of pickups fired rockets from the west of the Mediterranean city whose seizure will enable the NTC to declare the liberation of Libya and clear the way for an election timetable. An AFP correspondent said Sirte's main square and entire waterfront were under NTC control, along with its fortress-like conference centre, university campus and main hospital, all of which the fighters seized on Sunday. "All our lines are now in place; the area is completely surrounded," said NTC commander Zubayr Bakush. Farther east, a group of fighters threw petrol on a billboard of Gaddafi as others cheered and fired into the air with cries of "God is the Greatest blasting from a van loudspeaker. "There are snipers in the buildings up there," fighter Basit Divas told AFP, pointing to a neighbourhood of pock-marked villas, before hundreds of NTC troops advanced backed by a barrage of heavy weapons fire. Within a few hours, the new regime forces had advanced another two kilometres (1.2 miles) and were meeting only small pockets of resistance, with most of the firing in one direction - at the Gaddafi loyalists. There was some incoming sniper fire as they blasted buildings with RPGs, machineguns and anti-aircraft guns. NTC soldiers went house to house, clearing each, and sometimes taking prisoners. In the kitchen of one large villa, half-finished cups of tea sat on a tray. Outside another, a man was on his knees in the courtyard, his hands tied behind his back, pleading with his captors. "This man had a gun, and two AK-47s. We think he may be from Gaddafi's operation room," said Ayub Basina, who identified himself as an NTC doctor. In one house, NTC forces found 15 Kalashnikovs, seven RPGs and a field radio. A dozen black prisoners, their hands tied behind their backs, being seen being taken from one house and put aboard a pick-up. An AFP correspondent reported a fierce firefight around a school where Gaddafi loyalists were putting up strong resistance. He saw at least six bodies and said dozens of fighters had been wounded. NTC forces then withdrew to bombard the building with mortar fire. The plight of stranded civilians raised the concerns of Human Rights Watch, which called on both sides to minimise harm to them and ensure that prisoners are treated humanely. "Commanders on the ground in Sirte need to make sure that their forces protect civilians and allow them to flee the combat zone," said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at HRW. "All prisoners should be treated humanely and transferred to the NTC authorities who can better ensure their safety," he said in a statement. The New York-based watchdog said much of Sirte's population of around 100,000 has already fled, but that an unknown number remain. New regime fighters in Sirte were buoyed late Tuesday by a two-hour visit from NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and said he visited the one-time Gaddafi showpiece Ouagadougou conference centre. The NTC forces had besieged Sirte from September 15 before launching on Friday what they termed a "final assault" that has seen at least 85 of their number killed and hundreds wounded, according to medics. NATO warplanes, backing the NTC, overflew Sirte early on Wednesday without firing, an AFP correspondent reported, as the alliance said in its latest update that it had struck six vehicles in Bani Walid. Outside that oasis, 170 kilometres (105 miles) southeast of Tripoli, NTC fighters are also gearing for a renewed onslaught on the other remaining bastion of forces loyal to the ousted dictator. A withdrawal from intense fighting, in what the military called a "tactical pull back" earlier this week, enabled some civilians to flee Bani Walid on Tuesday, said an AFP reporter. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the alliance was close to ending its mission in Libya, but NATO "had no knowledge of the colonel's whereabouts," adding that Gaddafi "is not a target of our operation." NTC commanders say prisoners have said one of Gaddafi's sons, Mutassim, is in Sirte. Another, Seif al-Islam, once seen as the former strongman's successor, is believed to be hiding in Bani Walid, possibly with his father. Meanwhile, NTC oil and finance minister Ali Tarhuni said Libya will not award any further oil contracts until a government is formed after elections. "There are no new contracts in this transitory period for Total or for any company," he told reporters on the occasion of a visit by an 80-strong French business delegation. "The only government that can give new concessions in oil is an elected government, and that would be after we have a constitution."