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Libyan rebels advance westwards

[ 2011-03-28 10:35]     字号 [] [] []  
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Libyan rebels' push westwards toward Tripoli gathered momentum on Sunday as their pursuit of Muammar Gadhafi's forces saw them wrest back control of key oil town Ras Lanuf.

Their next target is Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, a central coastal city, and on the way they captured Bin Jawad, a hamlet 50 kilometers west of Ras Lanuf, AFP correspondents reported.

The rebels, on the verge of losing their eastern stronghold city of Benghazi before the air war began on March 19, on Saturday seized back Ajdabiya and Brega, 160 and 240 km to the west.

The coastal complexes at Ras Lanuf and Brega were responsible for a large chunk of Libya's 1.5 million barrels of daily exports, which have all but stopped since the uprising that began Feb 15

And, spurred on by the aerial bombardment, they were on Sunday eyeing Al-Bisher, a town another 30 km west along the road to Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte.

In Tripoli, government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said overnight that the Western-led air strikes were killing soldiers and civilians between the strategic town of Ajdabiya and Sirte.

"Tonight the air strikes against our nation continue with full power," he said.

"We are losing many lives, military and civilians," Ibrahim added while repeating a call for a ceasefire and an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Sunday set out the broad outlines of a diplomatic plan to resolve the crisis in Libya that could include exile for Gadhafi.

"We cannot envisage a solution in which he would stay in power," Frattini told La Repubblica daily, adding that "clearly exile for Gadhafi would be different".

Speaking at his Sunday blessing, Pope Benedict called for the "suspension of the use of arms" and expressed concern for civilian populations.

In Libya's west, French fighter jets destroyed at least five warplanes and two helicopters of government forces in the Zintan and Misrata regions on Saturday, said a statement on the French armed forces website.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Libyan rebels advance westwards

About the broadcaster:

Libyan rebels advance westwards

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.