Libyan Rebels Misrata 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
TRIPOLI/DAFNIYAH, Libya - Fighting between forces loyal to Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and rebels trying to close in on his territory killed at least eight rebels near the northwestern city of Nalut on Saturday, an insurgent source said.
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The gun battles in the village of Takut, just outside Nalut, followed exchanges of heavy artillery fire near the city of Zlitan as the insurgents tried to take government-held territory east of the capital Tripoli.
The rebels are seeking to seal off Tripoli from the east and west but their advances have been slow and weeks of NATO strikes pounding Gaddafi's compound and other targets have failed to bring an end to his 41-year-old rule.
"The battles started yesterday and are continuing today in Takut," the
fighter, Abou Saa, told Reuters from Nalut, in arid hills some 200 km
(125 miles) southwest of Tripoli.
"The revolutionaries destroyed six armoured vehicles and killed more
than 45 enemy soldiers. The rebels surrounded Gaddafi's forces, who are
holed up in a compound (in Takut)."
He added that 13 rebels were wounded in the fighting.
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Rebel oil chief accuses West of not providing promised aid
Meanwhile on Saturday, Libya's rebel oil chief accused the West of
failing to keep up its promises to deliver urgent financial aid, saying
his authority had now run out of cash completely after months of
Speaking to Reuters in a rare interview in the eastern rebel stronghold
of Benghazi, oil and finance minister Ali Tarhouni said all crude oil
production had now come to a standstill due to damage caused by the
"We don't have any (cash). We are running out of everything," he said.
"It's a complete failure. Either they (Western nations) don't understand
or they don't care."
He added: "We are not producing any oil because of the damage. I don't
expect us to produce oil any time soon. The refineries have no crude
oil, so they are not working."
Asked how the rebel authority would survive, he said: "People died for
this revolution and are still dying. We will find a way. One thing is
for sure: We will never give up."
Tarhouni said the rebel government was holding direct talks with foreign
companies on future cooperation, adding that he had no qualms about
dealing with those had earlier worked closely with Gaddafi's government
in the capital Tripoli.
Asked which companies he was talking to, he named Germany's Wintershall and France's Total.
"We need help, we said we respect and abide by all contracts. The only
enemy that I have is Gaddafi and his killers and thugs," he said. "In
terms of commerce and companies I have no enemies."
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