Gaddafi forces push Libya rebels into eastern town

Four rebel fighters are killed as Gaddafi loyalists push battle eastward toward crucial rebel stronghold of Ajdabiyah.

By REUTERS
April 10, 2011 13:23
1 minute read.
Rebel fighters take up positionsin Ajdabiyah.

Libra rebels 311 Reuters. (photo credit: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal )

AJDABIYAH, Libya, - Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi killed four rebel fighters in a battle for control of the strategic east Libyan town of Ajdabiyah, rebels said on Sunday. A Reuters witness near Ajdabiyah's eastern gate heard shooting and artillery fire and saw plumes of black smoke, suggesting Gaddafi's forces had pushed towards the center of the town that is a gateway to the rebel-held east.

A wounded fighter was hauled bleeding into an ambulance.

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"There is resistance inside the city. Gaddafi forces are fighting with rebels. They have a presence inside," said a rebel at a checkpoint on Ajdabiyah's eastern fringes.

Insurgent Hassan Bosayna said eight Gaddafi fighters and four rebels were killed in fighting on Saturday, with one of the rebels shot in the forehead by a sniper.

Another rebel, Muftah, said: "There are Gaddafi forces inside Ajdabiyah in sand-colored Land Cruisers and we know there are Gaddafi snipers in civilian clothing in the city as well."

Rebels were firing rockets from pick-up trucks into the desert on the outskirts of the town in a possible attempt to stop any flanking maneuver by Gaddafi loyalists.

One had clambered atop a telephone mast and was peering towards the town through binoculars.

The mostly untrained rebels have tried to reorganize and re-equip but were unable to hold their ground last week against Gaddafi's better-armed forces in the oil terminal of Brega, west of Ajdabiyah.

Ajdabiyah is the last major town on the Mediterranean coastal road before the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to the north and the major oil terminal of Tobruk further east.


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