AL-QALAA, Libya - Hundreds of Libyan rebels launched a massed offensive in the mountains southwest of Tripoli on Wednesday to seize a village held by Muammar Gaddafi's forces and push the front line closer to the capital.
Rebels arrived at the front at first light in scores of Toyota pick-up trucks, many with large-caliber anti-aircraft guns or home-made rocket launchers welded onto the truck beds. Several tanks also came on the backs of lorries.
The rebels began firing rockets and mortars at dawn, cries of "Allahu Akbar!" or "God is greatest!" echoing through groves of olive, almond and fig trees with each outgoing blast.
Gaddafi's forces responded with intermittent volleys of Grad tactical surface-to-surface rockets. Clouds of black smoke came from the hillsides where the incoming rounds exploded.