New air strikes hit Libyan city of Brega

Reuters / Goran Tomasevic

Libyan jets struck positions around the rebel-held city of Brega late Thursday as US President Barack Obama stepped up demands that Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi cede power.


As in earlier air raids, the bombs missed their target, in this case Brega's oil refinery. No casualties were reported.


The attack sparked fears that troops loyal to Kadhafi's regime would try and recapture the oil city, which lies southwest of the main eastern city of Benghazi.

Seif al-Islam, one of the sons of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, said the bombings were intended to frighten rebels, not to kill.

But Obama said the United States and the entire world "continue to be outraged
by the appalling violence against the Libyan people" and called for the end of Kadhafi's rule.

"Let me just be very unambiguous about this. Colonel Kadhafi needs to step down from power and leave. That is good for his country. It is good for his people. It's the right thing to do," Obama stressed.

And he warned that those still loyal to the regime should know "that history is moving against Colonel Kadhafi."

Libyan rebels echoed British and French foreign ministers in rejecting a mediation proposal from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Also on Thursday, the International Red Cross urged Libyans to respect medical personnel after two ambulances came under fire in the coastal area of Misrata.

Two volunteers were wounded and one vehicle destroyed in the incident.

"Red Crescent and Red Cross staff must be respected and allowed to carry out their life-saving work in safety," said Simon Brooks, head of the ICRC team in Benghazi.

"This is a vital issue for us and our colleagues," he said. "Volunteers are always ready to do their job but they must be granted the necessary security."

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