Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cécile Duflot ruffles some feathers

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • Russian aid convoy reaches Ukraine’s rebel-held Luhansk

    Read more

  • Gunmen kill scores in Iraqi Sunni mosque attack

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Africa

Rebels suffer casualties as fighting erupts across Libya

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-07-17

Ten Libyan insurgents were killed and 172 wounded on Saturday when a rebel offensive on the oil port of Brega in eastern Libya was repelled by Gaddafi loyalists. Fresh fighting was also reported in the Western Mountains, south of capital Tripoli.

 
REUTERS - Ten Libyan rebels were reported killed and 172 wounded in an attack on the eastern oil port of Brega on Saturday, while insurgents drove back forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in the west.

In the latest of a series of speeches apparently designed to show he enjoys support in the areas he controls, Gaddafi described the rebels as worthless traitors and rejected suggestions that he was about to leave the country.

“They said Gaddafi will go to Honolulu,” he said in a televised speech. “This is funny: To leave the graves of my forefathers and my people? Are you serious?”

His defiance came a day after Western and Arab powers, led by the United States, said the rebel leadership was the legitimate government of Libya. Reports have circulated that Gaddafi is seeking a negotiated way out of the crisis.

Brega’s oil resources make it a prize for the rebels, who have been trying to dislodge Gaddafi’s troops in the face of rocket bombardments, according to Al Jazeera television.

Most opposition fighters are about 20 km (12 miles) outside Brega, kept back by Grad rockets fired by government forces, the network reported. The rebels had however captured four government soldiers.

In the Western Mountains, where insurgents are trying to push towards Tripoli, heavy fighting erupted on Saturday.

Sustained gunfire and volleys of artillery could be heard from the village of Bir Ayad, 15 km (9 miles) south of the front line at the town of Bir Ghanam.

Rebels at Bir Ghanam hold the high ground on the outskirts of the town, their closest position to Tripoli, about 80 km (50 miles) away.

Ahmed, a rebel fighter in Bir Ayad, said a convoy of about 15 vehicles from Gaddafi’s forces tried to approach Bir Ghanam, but the rebels fired at it and the convoy retreated after a about an hour of shooting.

“They were in a column at first but when we started firing they split into groups of three or four vehicles and all of them fled,” local rebel commander Fathi Alzintani told Reuters.

Assaults repelled

Rebels in the Western Mountains have made progress in recent weeks after repelling assaults by Gaddafi’s forces. Their next goal is Garyan, a town that controls the highway south from Tripoli.

But the rebels have been hampered by divisions, ill-discipline and supply problems.

In Misrata, the rebels’ main stronghold in the west, three rebel fighters have been killed and four injured in the past 24 hours, hospital staff said.

Away from the battlefield, Gaddafi has made a series of audio speeches to coincide with state television broadcasts of rallies attended by thousands of people in Tripoli and elsewhere.

As loyalists gathered on the streets of the town of Zawiyah, near the capital, on Saturday, Gaddafi said the rebels were “apostates” who had “become Christians”.

Calling on the rebels to lay down their arms, he said:
“Islam is being humiliated by the cross ... They are burning mosques with bombs.”

“We have given martyrs, yes ... It’s impossible to compromise or make the slightest concession.”

Crowds were shown firing to the air at the end of the speech.

Rebel leaders received a boost in their campaign to oust Gaddafi on Friday when they won recognition as the legitimate government of Libya from the United States and other powers.

Western nations said they also planned to increase the military pressure on Gaddafi’s forces to press him to give up power after 41 years at the head of the North African state.

Recognition of the rebels by the international contact group on Libya is an important diplomatic step that could unlock billions of dollars in frozen Libyan funds.

The decision came as reports circulated Gaddafi had sent out emissaries seeking a negotiated end to the conflict, although he remains defiant in public.

The contact group also agreed on a road map whereby Gaddafi should relinquish power and put forward plans for Libya’s transition to democracy under the rebel National Transitional Council.

 

 

Date created : 2011-07-16

  • LIBYA

    Libya contact group meets amid Gaddafi defiance

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Libya's rebels court EU as abuse allegations emerge

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Paris calls on rebels to negotiate with regime

    Read more

COMMENT(S)