UNITED NATIONS (AFP/Reuters) - The United Nations on Friday eased sanctions against Libya and gave the countrys UN seat to the former rebel government which toppled Moamer Gaddafi and is still battling his forces. Western nations who were at the forefront of the push for sanctions and help for the rebels battling Gaddafi, hailed the historic double breakthrough for the interim government on the international stage. The 15-member Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to ease an assets freeze and arms embargo against Libyan companies and the government. It maintained sanctions against Gaddafi and a no-fly zone which has been used to justify Nato air strikes against Gaddafi targets. Security Council resolution 2009 also set up a UN mission to go to Libya to help the interim government to arrange elections and write a new constitution. The measure eases sanctions against major enterprises such as Libyan National Oil Corporation, the central bank and the Libyan Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund in a bid to get the economy moving again. The Security Council expressed concern at the proliferation of arms in Libya and its potential impact on regional peace and security. But the resolution allows arms supplies and technical assistance to the transitional govt for the security of the authorities and for the protection of UN personnel, media and aid workers in the country. The Security Council passed resolutions in February and March allowing for sanctions and measures to protect civilians, which Nato has used to justify its military strikes in Libya over the past six months. Meanwhile, forces loyal to Gaddafi fired rockets and scored casualties in a fierce counter-attack in the fugitive ex-Libyan leaders stronghold of Bani Walid Saturday, an AFP correspondent said. Ambulances rushed dead and wounded fighters as explosions and gunfire thundered in the air, after the attack on a position of interim government fighters several kilometres from the city centre. They swept the position after targeting us with Grad rockets, said NTC fighter Omar Ali Ramadan, who said he and others had managed to take cover at an abandoned house. At least seven rockets hit our position. Bani Walid is 180 km southeast of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Meanwhile, Gaddafis spokesman told Reuters on Saturday that Nato air strikes on Sirte overnight had hit a residential building and a hotel, killing 354 people. His claim could not immediately be verified as Sirte, Gaddafis hometown, has been largely cut off from communication. since the fall of Tripoli. Moussa Ibrahim, in a call from a satellite phone to Reuters office in Tunis, said: Nato attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the citys main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential flats. The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night. Ibrahim said Gaddafi was personally directing loyalist fighters who are holding back provisional government forces at his remaining strongholds in Libya. He is leading all aspects of this struggle. He is talking to the people, he is lecturing, he is discussing, he is looking after all matters of the resistance, he said. Ibrahim said Gaddafi was in Libya and confident of victory. We will be able to continue this fight and we have enough arms for months and months to come, he said. In the last 17 days more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes, he said.