Published: Jun 09, 2011 3:36 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 09, 2011 3:37 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The man nominated to be the next Pentagon chief says the opposition forces in Libya have made gains in the east and west and that Moammar Gadhafi's regime is weakening.

Leon Panetta tells the Senate Armed Services Committee that the NATO military operation, strong economic sanctions, and the enforcement of the no-fly zone are putting tremendous pressure on Gadhafi.

He says that pressure must continue, and if it does he believes Gadhafi will ultimately step down.

Gadhafi has shown no signs of ceding power despite repeated attacks on his compound, government buildings, military radar emplacements and other army installations.

Panetta was appearing before the panel for a hearing on his nomination to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary. Panetta currently heads the CIA.

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