Rebels pushed back in eastern cities by Gaddafi's forces
Mar 15, 2011, 13:12 GMT
Cairo/Benghazi, Libya - At least one person was killed and several injured in air attacks Tuesday by Moamer Gaddafi's forces just west of the northern city of Ajdabiya, according to a Libyan news report.
Libyan news website Brneiq reported that one rebel was killed in the air strikes that have hit at a nearly 80-kilometre-long road linking the north-eastern cities of Bregan and Ajdabiya, where rebels had briefly taken control.
Gaddafi's forces also struck a makeshift hospital and checkpoints set up by rebels in areas near Ajdabiya.
Reports emerged that rebels were forced to retreat from some of their posts in Ajdabiya after heavy bombardment.
According to Brnieq, Gaddafi's forces launched four air strikes Tuesday morning just west of Ajdabiya along the main road that leads to Brega, where rebels were positioned.
Al Jazeera said that the elite army brigade of Khamees Gaddafi, named after one of the sons of the Libyan leader, had reached Brega.
If government forces gain total control of Ajdabiya and other nearby cities, they could advance on to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.
The mood in the north-eastern rebel-held cities of Libya is tense, as Gaddafi's forces continue an eastward push in a bid to take back cities under rebel control.
Ajdabiya is located some 160 kilometres south-west of Benghazi, which is Libya's second largest city and the hub of the opposition.
'The situation in Benghazi is the same. We are not afraid but we are apprehensive,' Nizar, who asked to be identified by his first name only, told the German Press Agency dpa.
General Mohamed Abdelhamid, who defected to command rebels in the east, told dpa that rebels were in need of more weapons.
However, witnesses in Libya have said that the problem is not a lack of weapons, but rather the lack of training among rebels, many of whom are civilians with little or no military experience.
But a number of soldiers and officers have joined the opposition and are trying to command rebels, despite not having access to the same level of weaponry and aircraft used by Gaddafi's forces.
'We have strong military tactics to face Gaddafi's forces now that a big number of soldiers joined the revolution,' said Nizar.
Meanwhile, Gaddafi on Tuesday ruled out negotiations with anti-government rebels who he described in a newspaper interview as 'terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden.'
'They (the rebels) don't have any hope. Their cause is lost. They only have two possibilities - to surrender or to flee,' Gaddafi told Milan-based daily Il Giornale.
Gaddafi, who is facing strong international condemnation and calls to step down after almost 42 years in power, said his troops would continue besieging rebel hold-outs including Libya's third largest city, Misurata, because this is what 'the people who are on my side' want.
Cities around the capital Tripoli, which include Misurata, al-Zawiya and Zuara, have all been mostly recaptured by Gaddafi's forces over recent days, according to the government.
A spokesman for rebels in the northern city of Misurata told dpa earlier that they were still fighting for control of the city.
He added that the opposition's National Council would object to any foreign military troops in Libya, but would likely accept assistance to bomb strategic points.
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