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Mar 22, 2011

Zeal of Libyan rebels may not be enough to triumph

NEAR AJDABIYAH, Libya (Reuters) – The Libyan rebel fighters sheltering behind sand dunes near the government-held town of Ajdabiyah are full of bravado but they appear to lack leadership, soldiering experience and any clear plan of action.

The volunteer force comes from all walks of life — engineers, taxi-drivers and the jobless — united in their hatred of Muammar Gaddafi.

Mar 22, 2011

Rebels wary of Gaddafi forces near east Libya town

NEAR AJDABIYAH, Libya (Reuters) – Rebels in east Libya outside Ajdabiyah were not advancing on the strategic town on Tuesday because heavily armed troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi could still overwhelm them despite Western air strikes.

Rebels at the frontline about 5 km (3 miles) outside the town located at the gateway to the rebel-held east said three nights of air strikes were helping cripple Gaddafi’s heavy armor, but his forces were still a potent threat.

Mar 21, 2011

Benghazi residents still fear Gaddafi gunmen

BENGHAZI, March 21 (Reuters) – Fears of loyalist gunmen
thought to be hiding in Libya’s rebel capital kept its people on
edge on Monday, a day after the euphoria of their rescue by
Western airstrikes on Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

The gunmen known as the Elejan El-Thoria, after the
Revolutionary Committees set up by Gaddafi, were given 24 hours
until noon on Tuesday to surrender or face retribution in a
message relayed over Mosque loudspeakers by the rebels.

Mar 21, 2011

Little sign at Libya front of rebel-West contact

NEAR AJDABIYAH/BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Rebels at the front cheer on the warplanes as they roar overhead and back at rebel headquarters opponents of Muammar Gaddafi say they are coordinating with the Western powers launching air strikes.

But there is little sign at the vanguard of battle in east Libya that this communication extends to forward rebel units.

Mar 21, 2011

Libya rebels welcome air strikes, aim for Tripoli

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan rebels, given a new lease of life by foreign air strikes, said on Monday they aimed to capture the capital Tripoli and force out Muammar Gaddafi.

They welcomed the international action but said they did not want foreign ground forces to intervene in the war.

Mar 21, 2011

Libyan rebels welcome air strikes, no ground troops

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan rebels welcome more air strikes by foreign forces against Muammar Gaddafi’s army but do not want foreign ground troops to intervene in the war, a rebel spokesman said on Monday.

“The committee rejects foreign troops on the ground but we encourage the (aerial) bombardments of Gaddafi’ army,” Ahmed El-Hasi, a spokesman for the February 17 opposition coalition, said in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Mar 20, 2011

Relief and lingering fear in Benghazi after Gaddafi repulsed

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Panic and fear gave way to relief and gratitude in Benghazi on Sunday, one day after rebels backed by foreign air strikes repulsed Muammar Gaddafi’s forces as they fought their way into the eastern Libyan city.

“If the French had not struck, we would be suffering now. They came in time,” said Yunis Salem, 52, an oil sector worker, sitting across the road from the courthouse serving as the rebel headquarters.

Mar 20, 2011

Bodies of fighters, civilians crowd Benghazi morgue

BENGHAZI, Libya, March 20 (Reuters) – At least 24 bodies of
fighters and civilians, many burnt beyond recognition, lay in
the morgue of Benghazi’s main hospital on Sunday.

The hospital’s wards were filled with men, women and
children wounded in Saturday’s assault by Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi’s forces on the rebels’ eastern stronghold.

Mar 19, 2011

Refugees flee Benghazi, dreading Gaddafi’s revenge

AL-BAYDA, Libya (Reuters) – As cars streamed out of Benghazi carrying terrified families escaping from the fighting, people in villages along the way held out bottles of water and boxes of biscuits for them.

It was a sign of the solidarity that still exists among Libyans in the east of the country, heartland of the revolt against Muammar Gaddafi, even though their struggle is in dire peril.

Mar 18, 2011

Libyans celebrate UN vote, now want rapid action

EGYPT-LIBYA BORDER, March 18 (Reuters) – Supporters of
Libyan rebels celebrated a U.N. resolution authorising a
“no-fly” zone and military attacks on Muammar Gaddafi’s forces,
after the Libyan leader said he would crush the revolutionaries.

But after waiting weeks for the West to act on rebel pleas
to ground Gaddafi’s warplanes and stop an offensive that has
retaken swathes of once rebel-held territory, Libyans who have
fled the country in terror said they wanted to see action.

    • About Angus

      "Angus MacSwan has reported for Reuters for 25 years from Asia, Latin America, the United States, the Middle East, South Africa and the Balkans. He has covered events from the overthrow of President Marcos in the Philippines in 1986 to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He stood next to Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he voted in South Africa's first free election and witnessed the arrival of the first prisoners to the U.S. camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
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