Libya rebels fire towards sea, gunboats reported

2011-03-10 08:45

Brega, Libya – Libyan rebels fired rockets in the direction of the sea today after reports that Libyan gunboats in the Mediterranean Sea may have attacked rebel positions on the front line in the oil-producing east.

A counter-offensive by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi has halted the rebels’ advance along Libya’s eastern coast, where they have been forced to withdraw from the strategic town of Bin Jawad after coming under heavy fire.

“We came into Bin Jawad but gunboats fired on us so we withdrew,” one fighter, Adel Yahya, said last night.

Rebel colonel, Bashir Abdul Qadr, at that time could not confirm whether naval vessels had been used, but said: “We had bombing from the direction of the sea.”

Rebel fighters said today that they were now based on the outskirts of Bin Jawad and near the oil complex of Sidrah which suffered a direct hit during yesterday’s fighting, sending black smoke and flames belching into the sky.

Rebels, who have taken swathes of territory in the east and who are becoming better organised, were stopped from taking the coastal road west to the prized target of Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, by tanks and warplanes that halted their advance.

In the push from Libya’s second city where the uprising started and where the rebels now have their headquarters, the rebel army of defectors and young volunteers have captured the oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf.

Dr Gebril Hewadi of the Benghazi medical management committee said that at least 400 people had been killed in eastern Libya since clashes began there on February 17, with many corpses yet to be recovered from bomb sites.

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