Libya

Anti-Kadhafi rebels claim to have taken Brega

Reuters/Handout
3 min

Rebels in Libya claim to have seized three key towns, as they close in on Tripoli. On Saturday they claimed to have taken total control of the key oil town of Brega, the scene of intense fighting for several weeks.

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The earlier reported capture of Zawiyah, in the west, cut the capital off from routes to Tunis, while Zliten in the east cut it off from Moamer Kadhafi’s hometown of Sirte.

Fighting was reported to be continuing in Zawiyah’s centre on Saturday. The rebels claim

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

that pro-Kadhafi forces snipers are sheltering in buildings, using the occupants as shields.

Zliten is reported to have fallen after a day of heavy fighting Friday.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini urged Tripoli’s population to rise up against Kadhafi.

“We are hearing about hospitals being attacked or used for military purposes,” International committee of the Red Cross said, pointing to a "rapid deterioration in the humanitarian situation" in Brega, Zawiyah, Garyan and Sabratha.

"We hope the people of Tripoli ... understand the regime has harmed its own people and will therefore join a process of political change to cut off room for manoeuvre for Kadhafi's regime," he said.

The National Transitional Council also claimed that former premier Abdessalam Jalloudhas has fled to rebel-held territory.

Jalloudhas was among the group of officers who seized power along with Kadhafi and was prime minister from 1972 to 1974. But he was sidelined in the 1990s.

The UN’s International Organisation for Migration said it was drawing up plans for the evacuation of thousands of foreign workers stranded in Tripoli.

"There are already thousands of Egyptians who are ready for evacuation now, and what we are hearing is that every day there are more and more requests," said IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya.

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