...

Libyan rebels make urgent plea for help on western front

Arab World Materials 18 May 2011 15:51 (UTC +04:00)
Libyan rebels fighting to oust Moamer Gaddafi from power made an urgent plea for help in the western Nafusa Mountains of the country on Wednesday.
Libyan rebels make urgent plea for help on western front

Libyan rebels fighting to oust Moamer Gaddafi from power made an urgent plea for help in the western Nafusa Mountains of the country on Wednesday, DPA reported.

The rebels said government troops attacked a hospital in the western town of Yefren in the mountain range late Monday.

Gaddafi's forces were using Grad missiles, snipers, and a previously unseen type of mortar, they said.

Three locals and nine fighters were killed late Tuesday in the area, according to the rebels' Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC).

"Gaddafi's forces are currently conducting extremely heavy attacks along the Tunisian border," a statement from the Benghazi-based ITNC said.

Rebels, who are in control of the al-Wazin crossing connecting Libya to Tunisia, fear Gaddafi's forces are gearing up to attack the strategic crossing.

"The Tunisian border is an essential lifeline for the delivery of humanitarian aid, which is now unable to reach civilians in the Nafusa area," the ITNC said.

According to the United Nations, over 44,000 Libyan refugees have crossed into Tunisia, with an estimated 2,500 refugees of different nationalities crossing daily.

On April 21, rebel forces seized control of the town of al-Wazin, about four kilometres from Tunisia, and the Libyan territory leading to the Dahiba border crossing, opening a supply route into the mountains, according to Human Rights Watch.

However, rebels temporarily lost control of the al-Wazin crossing, retaking it in recent weeks, with the armed clashes spilling into Tunisia.

Tunisia threatened on Wednesday to take "strict measures" against Gaddafi's regime after shells fired by Libyan forces landed on Tunisian soil.

Dozens of shells have landed near the border post of Dahiba in southern Tunisia over the past 24 hours, a witness told the German Press Agency dpa.

According to Human Rights Watch, Libyan refugees who have fled to Tunisia in recent weeks said government attacks from the outskirts of the western cities of Nalut, Takut, and Zintan had killed an unknown number of civilians over the last several weeks of fighting.

Shelling from Gaddafi's forces had also damaged mosques, water facilities, homes, and schools in the area.

Meanwhile, the opposition said Monday rebels were near the western town of Zliten, 150 kilometres east of Tripoli.

Rebels east of the capital are planning a westward march with the aim of pushing closer to the capital, which is still largely under Gaddafi's control.

Tags:
Latest

Latest