Gaddafi stages east Libya offensive, rebels defiant

By REUTERS
March 2, 2011 18:22

BREGA, Libya - Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attacked the oil export terminal of Brega in the first sign of a counter-offensive by Libya's leader in the rebel-controlled east, which rebels said they had repulsed.

At a news conference in Benghazi, the rebel National Libyan Council called for UN-backed air strikes on foreign mercenaries used by Gaddafi against his own people.

Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the council based in the rebel-held city of Benghazi, told a news conference Gaddafi was using "African mercenaries in Libyan cities" which amounted to an invasion of the oil producing North African nation.

"We call for specific attacks on strongholds of these mercenaries," he said, but added: "The presence of any foreign forces on Libyan soil is strongly opposed. There is a big difference between this and strategic air strikes."

"The call will be on the United Nations and on any organization supporting the Feb. 17 revolution to have air strikes on the places and strongholds of the mercenaries ... used against civilians," Ghoga said.


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