Libyan Revolutionary Fighters Claim Gains
Against Qaddafi Forces in Misrata, EU Opens Office in Bani Ghazi
May 11, 2011
Rebels in Misrata: Gadhafi forces pushed back, airport
May 11, 2011, 9:58 AM EDT
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) --
A Libyan rebel in the besieged western city of Misrata says Moammar
Gadhafi's forces have been pushed back, leaving behind weapons and
ammunition and losing control of the airport to the rebels.
According to a rebel who identified himself as Abdel Salam, rebels
were in total control of the airport in southern Misrata on Wednesday
after two days of fighting. Hesaid five rebels were killed and 105
"This is a major victory," he said.
Misrata's rebels also are pushing west, toward the nearby city of
The only rebel-held stronghold in western Libya, Misrata is the
country's third-largest city, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast
of Gadhafi's capital, Tripoli.
Rebels claim gains against Qaddafi forces in Misrata
News Wires (text)
France 24, May 11, 2011
Libyan rebels say they have made gains against Muammar Gaddafi's
forces in the key port city of Misrata as overnight NATO air strikes
targeted parts of the capital, Tripoli. Misrata remains the only
rebel-held city in western Libya.
A NATO bombing blitz, which the alliance insisted was not aimed
at Mu'amer Qadhafi, rocked Tripoli on Tuesday, as rebels in besieged
Misrata claimed to be pushing back the Libyan strongman's forces.
NATO said that since the alliance took over military operations on
March 31 to protect civilians from pro-Kadhafi forces, jets have
conducted almost 6,000 sorties, including more than 2,300 strike
Bombs were not dropped during all of those missions,
figures showed, as officials insisted again the raids were not aimed at
killing Qadhafi, who has ruled the north African nation for more than
"All NATO targets are military targets, which means
that the targets we've been hitting, and it happened also last night in
Tripoli, are command and control bunkers," Brigadier General Claudio
Gabellini told reporters.
"NATO is not targeting individuals," he
said via videolink from the operation's headquarters in Naples, Italy.
But asked whether Qadhafi was still alive, the Italian NATO general
said: "We don't have any evidence. We don't know what Qadhafi is doing
Early Tuesday jets had screamed in low over the
capital, Tripoli, in a heavy bombardment lasting roughly three hours, an
AFP correspondent said.
The blasts came after NATO chief Anders
Fogh Rasmussen said time was running out for Kadhafi, who had to "realise
sooner rather than later that there's no future for him or his regime."
Qadhafi survived a similar NATO bombing on May 1 in Tripoli, which
killed his second-youngest son, Seif al-Arab, and three of his
Inspired by the uprisings in other Arab nations, rebels have been
fighting since mid-February to oust Qadhafi but have met with stiff
resistance despite gaining a foothold in the eastern city of Benghazi.
They have set up a National Transitional Council (NTC) and Mahmud
Jibril, a senior figure in Libya's opposition, was to meet with key US
lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss the conflict, senior US Senator John
Kerry, a Democratic ally of the White House who
chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would make a
public appearance with Jibril at 3:30 pm (1930 GMT).
Relations Committee and the American people are eager to learn more
about the opposition movement in Libya and Mahmud Jibril is well
positioned to answer our questions," Kerry said in a statement.
The United States has yet to recognise the NTC unlike France, Italy and
Qatar, with officials in Washington saying they wanted "a clearer
picture" first about the opposition body.
The rebels said
meanwhile they had driven Kadhafi's forces back from around the western
port of Misrata, which has been under loyalist siege for some two
months, and were poised to make another thrust.
clashes, the rebels controlled a stretch of coast road west of Misrata,
their last major stronghold in the west, prompting thousands to flee.
An AFP correspondent said the rebels had forced government troops
about 15 kilometres (10 miles) from Misrata, advancing to Dafnia, and
were readying to move on Zliten, the next major town on the road to
Haj Mohammed, a rebel commander, said "every day we
manage to advance along the coastal road toward Zliten. Yesterday 15
kilometres (10 miles), today only two, but the advance is unstoppable."
Rebels were using shipping containers to shield themselves from
loyalist fire, and bulldozers were pushing them forward as the advance
Ahmad Hassan, a rebel spokesman in Misrata, said the
insurgents had also "liberated" areas south and east of the city,
killing many Kadhafi troops and seizing a large amount of weapons.
Eighteen rebels and civilians were wounded.
The rebel claims
could not be immediately verified.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee
agency appealed to ships in the Mediterranean to treat all boats leaving
Libya as being in need of assistance after reports that a vessel loaded
with up to 600 people had capsized last week.
The office of the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the number of flimsy and
overloaded boats carrying people fleeing Libya was increasing.
"We believe that any boat from Libya should be considered at first
glance as a boat that is in need of assistance," UNHCR spokeswoman
Melissa Fleming said.
"We believe that all of these boats are
carrying people who are trying to escape, many of whom are weakened by
conflict, please do not wait for a call of distress."
Nations said Monday nearly 750,000 people have fled Libya since the
start of the conflict.
Special report: with Misrata's rebels
FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE
Beleaguered rebels fight on in Misrata
NATO jets launch new strikes on Tripoli targets
Fight for Misrata intensifies as city faces critical shortages
Gaddafi steps up assault on rebels
Date created : 11/05/2011
EU to open Benghazi office to support rebel council
News Wires (text)
The European Union will open an office in the rebel stronghold of
Benghazi to offer support to the Libyan rebels' political body, the
Interim Transitional National Council, EU foreign policy chief Catherine
Ashton (pictured) said Wednesday.
The European Union plans to open an office in the rebel-held Libyan
city of Benghazi to facilitate assistance to the rebel council based
there, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Wednesday.
"I intend to open an office in Benghazi so that we can move forward
on the support we've discussed to the people... to support civil
society, to support the Interim Transitional National Council," Ashton
told the European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg.
Ashton said EU support would include help for security sector reform
and institution-building. "We want to help with education, with health
care, with security on the borders," she said. Ashton reiterated an EU
call for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down. "Let us ... be
clear, Gaddafi must go from power -- he must end his regime."
Rebels claim gains against Gaddafi forces in Misrata
Libya contact group agrees to fund rebels in Rome
LIBYA - SPECIAL REPORT
Braving shelling, fleeing civilians arrive in Benghazi
Date created : 11/05/2011
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