Libyan military surges on key rebel-held outpost
Saturday, April 09, 2022 12:12 PM

Related Stories



(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By SEBASTIAN ABBOT

AJDABIYA, Libya - Libyan government troops shelled rebels' main front-line outpost and advanced in guerrilla-style units Saturday, killing at least three opposition fighters in what appeared to be their most serious push into the heart of rebel territory since international airstrikes began.

NATO responded to the advance on the eastern city of Ajdabiya with an airstrike that kicked up a huge mushroom cloud. Government troops' intense shelling dropped off after that, but soldiers moved into the town in civilian cars and trucks in an apparent effort to foil NATO pilots.

Recapturing Ajdabiya would give the Libyan military a key staging ground to attack the rebels' de facto capital, Benghazi, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) farther east along the coastal highway. Moammar Gadhafi's forces were approaching Benghazi when they were driven back by the international air campaign launched last month to protect civilians and ground Gadhafi's aircraft.

The push into Ajdabiya was launched even as international envoys opened fresh initiatives for a peace deal. The African Union said it planned to send a team to Libya on Sunday to begin meetings with the government and rebel leaders.

In the capital Tripoli, meanwhile, Gadhafi made his first public appearance in weeks with a visit to a school. Children went into a frenzy to welcome him, jumping on desks and giving fist-pumping chants: "The people want Moammar the leader!"

Gadhafi - wearing large black sunglasses and a brown turban and robe - made no public comments, according to the account on state TV. Gadhafi has remained mostly in hiding since the airstrikes began, preferring to communicate by telephone to government-run television.

The rebels have maintained control of much of the eastern half of Libya since early in the uprising, while Gadhafi has clung to much of the west. Gadhafi has been putting out feelers for a cease-fire but he refuses to step down as rebels demand.

A NATO official in Naples, Italy - the headquarters for the Libyan mission - said the airstrike near Ajdabiya was launched to try to halt the shelling of the city, which had about 150,000 residents before many fled for safer areas. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under standing regulations.

The NATO-led airstrikes, authorized by a U.N. resolution, have neutralized Gadhafi's air force and pummeled his ground forces, but the opposition remains outnumbered and outgunned. The alliance has been defending itself against rebel complaints that its attacks are too slow and imprecise.

In London, the British military said its warplanes hit seven tanks around Ajdabiya and the rebel-held city of Misrata in western Libya on Friday as part of the NATO-led mission.

A rebel fighter, Salah Ali, said Gadhafi's forces were "spreading out inside Ajdabiya" with weapons including heavy machine guns and grenade launchers.

Rebels returned fire with rockets and machine guns after retreating to the outskirts. Some rebel reinforcements arrived at sunset.

The supervisor at Ajdabiya hospital, Mohammed Idris, said at least five rebels were killed and six people were injured, including a civilian.

The pro-Gadhafi offensive marked a quick turn of fortunes for the rebels.

Just hours earlier, they had pushed deeper toward Brega, a town west of Ajdabiya that has been a key prize in the back-and-forth battles with government forces. Rebels say they took two prisoners after a clash with soldiers near Brega's Bright Star University, outside government-controlled oil facilities.

In western Libya, the Red Cross said a relief ship reached the only rebel-held city, Misrata, which was the scene of heavy battles Friday. A Turkish ship also docked in Misrata to bring home Egyptians stranded in Libya's third-largest city, said Egypt's deputy foreign minister, Mohammed Abdel-Hakam. A second Turkish ship was expected Sunday.

---

Associated Press writer Slobodan Lekic in Brussels contributed to this report.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

 

Sponsors

Symbol :

Advertisement

Market news:

  • GOP presidential field sees budget wars from afar Apr 10, 2022 12:20 PM

    • WASHINGTON - Republicans are pressing ahead with one of the most ambitious and risky long-term spending agendas in memory, yet the dozen or so potential White House hopefuls are nearly invisible on the issue.
    • The triumph of tea party candidates in 2010 pumped new urgency into a long-brewing Republican Party push for major cuts in domestic and benefit programs, including Medicare and Social Security.
    • Backed by most House Republicans, Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, wrote a far-reaching spending plan that right away framed the debate on Capitol Hill.
      • Mayor says Iowa town damaged by tornado now open Apr 10, 2022 12:04 PM

        • MAPLETON, Iowa - The small western Iowa town of Mapleton has been reopened following a tornado that the mayor estimates damaged 60 percent of the town.
        • The tornado struck the town of about 1,200 on Saturday evening.
        • Monana County is in the same region of western Iowa where four Boy Scouts died in a tornado that struck a scouting ranch in June 2008.
          • Critics fault retired Justice O'Connor over ethics Apr 10, 2022 11:59 AM

            • WASHINGTON - Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor continues to hear cases in U.S. appeals courts, while also playing a role in public policy issues.
            • In September, federal judges in Iowa stayed away from a conference on judicial elections at which O'Connor spoke in the midst of another campaign over ballot issues.
            • Most recently, O'Connor hosted an after-hours reception at the court that was billed as a celebration of Bristol Bay in Alaska.
              • British royal wedding guest list details emerge Apr 10, 2022 11:26 AM

                • LONDON - Soccer star David Beckham will be there with his pop star wife Victoria.
                • And the Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala will be there too, probably one of the few guests at the wedding of the year wearing orange and burgundy Buddhist robes.
                • The guest list for the April 29 union of Prince William and Kate Middleton is still being kept secret, but details have begun to leak out, with some coming forward to say they are attending and the Mail on Sunday newspaper claiming to have the official invitation roster.
                  • US gay-marriage ban under assault but still potent Apr 10, 2022 11:25 AM

                    • NEW YORK - These are frustrating, tantalizing days for many of the same-sex couples who seized the chance to marry in recent years.
                    • The Obama administration has repudiated it and taken piecemeal steps to weaken its effects.
                    • Because of DOMA, some binational couples still worry about deportation of the non-citizen spouse.

                      More news


Advertisement

    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
XXXXXXXXXX AAPL$5.31
XXXXXXXXXX ISRG$2.49
JakeXXXXX PKD$0.06
XXXXXXXXXX CRTP$0.08
XXXXXXXXXX AA$0.27
Benjamin ThurmondGlobal Electronics HGSI($0.44)
N/AN/A LNN$0.70
NemoXXXXX MOS$1.08
XXXXXXXXXX WMT$0.96
XXXXXXXXXX MSN$0.10