Several killed as rebels fight for ground in western Libya

Several killed as rebels fight for ground in western Libya

Several people were killed Sunday as Libyan forces continued their bid to wrest control of several western cities from rebel forces, even as a Libyan diplomat met with officials in Greece to discuss an end to the conflict, dpa reported.

Libya wants a solution to end the fighting, the country's deputy foreign minister, Abdelati Obeidi, told Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou Sunday after flying to Athens late Sunday to convey a message from Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi.

"Following the meeting with the Libyan envoy and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, it seems that Libyan authorities are seeking a solution," Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in a statement.

"There is a need for a serious effort for peace and stability in the region," Droutsas added.

Meanwhile, The New York Times quoted an unnamed diplomat as saying Gaddafi's son Seif el-Islam had proposed a solution to the conflict that would see Gaddafi step down. The proposal would then see the son lead a transition to democracy, but Libyan officials and rebels both seemed to reject the idea.

As the fighting continued, the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition said forces loyal Gaddafi shelled the western city of Yefren again on Sunday. The attacks over two days left at least two people dead and four injured.

In Misurata, the North African country's third-largest city, one person was killed when government forces shelled a building housing a polyclinic overnight.

Several volunteers were injured.

A doctor in the city told the opposition paper Brnieq, which is based in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, that at least 160 people have been killed in the city over the past seven days.

Shortages of medical supplies, as well as food, persist in Misurata.

A spokesman for the rebels in the city of Zintan said that water and power stations had been destroyed.

NATO conducted 70 air raids over Libya on Saturday, the Western military alliance said Sunday, in its daily report of its previous day's activities.

As part of their remit to implement United Nations-authorized military action against Libya, NATO planes are both enforcing a no-fly zone and targeting Libyan military objectives to prevent attacks on civilians.

On April 2, jet fighters took off 184 times, and performed 70 "strike sorties," the alliance said. On Thursday and Friday the daily "strike sorties" had numbered 74.

Rebels in both Misurata and Zintan have been fighting to hold off an onslaught by Gaddafi's forces, who had them surrounded for a week.

The rebels, who have their stronghold in the east of the country, are fighting for control of all key coastal cities leading to Misurata, which they regard as a gateway to the capital Tripoli.

Rebel forces this week recaptured most of the key eastern oil port of Brega.

Al Jazeera reported Sunday that rebels have received military training from US and Egyptian special forces in Libya.

The report by the Qatar-based broadcaster quoted an unnamed rebel source who described how he had received military training at a clandestine facility in the east of the country, the stronghold of the rebel forces.

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