Pro-Gaddafi forces, rebels fight in Misrata center

Muammar Gaddafi's troops pushed further east as fighting continues; Pope Benedict calls for the "suspension of the use of arms."

March 27, 2011 18:21
2 minute read.
Libyan rebels celebrate

Libyan rebels celebrate 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)


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TUNIS - Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fought with rebels in the center of Misrata on Sunday, a rebel told Reuters.

"All day long we heard clashes between rebels and Gaddafi forces in the area of Tripoli street, in the city center," the rebel, called Sami, told Reuters by phone. "We heard tanks, mortars and light weapons
being used. This is still going on now."

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Sami said one person had been killed from sniper fire on Saturday.

"There are no casualties so far today but given there were heavy clashes today we could still have casualties," Sami said. "The rebels want to press ahead with their assault and force Gaddafi's men out of the city all together. But we need more time because of the snipers positioned on rooftops."

Earlier Sunday, Libyan rebels had entered the oil-exporting town of Ras Lanuf after routing Gaddafi's troops further east, a rebel fighter told Reuters on the road to Ras Lanuf.

"There is no Gaddafi army in Ras Lanuf," said the fighter, Walid al-Arabi, quoting rebels who had returned from the town.

He said he believed the front line was now west of Ras Lanuf.

An Al Jazeera correspondent said the rebels had reached Uqayla, more than 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of Ajdabiyah and the last town traveling west before the major oil exporting terminal of Ras Lanuf.

Also on Sunday amidst the fighting,  Pope Benedict called for the "suspension of the use of arms" in the Libya crisis, an appeal that appeared to include the use of outside force.

Speaking at his Sunday blessing, he said he was addressing his appeal to "international bodies," and "those who hold military and political responsibility."

On Saturday, Libyan rebel fighters reached the outskirts of the oil-exporting town of Brega after taking Ajdabiyah from Muammar Gaddafi's forces, a rebel spokesman said.

"They are now, as we speak, on the outskirts of the city of Brega," Colonel Ahmed Bani, a rebel military spokesman, said at a news conference in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Brega is 70 km to the west of Ajdabiyah.

Bani said the recapture by rebels of Ajdabiyah, a gateway from western Libya to Benghazi, meant "the winds of change have now started to blow."

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