SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

The World

March 28, 2011

Libyan rebels close on key Gadhafi stronghold

RAS LANOUF, Libya — Libya's rebel forces closed in Monday on Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, the gateway to the western half of the country after it was targeted for the first time by international air strikes.

Witnesses in Sirte said that bombing was heard Sunday night and then again 6:30 a.m. local time, but there was no fighting in the streets or signs of rebel forces. The night before dozens of fighters loyal to Gadhafi could be seen roaming the streets.

The Libyan state news agency also reported that there had been air strikes against the southern town of Sabha, which remains strongly loyal to Gadhafi and is a major transit point for ethnic Tuareg fighters from Mali and Niger fighting for the government.

JANA said the strikes destroyed a number of houses, though past strikes on Sabha, 385 miles (620 kilometers) south of Tripoli, targeted the airport and the flow of foreign fighters reinforcing the regime.

Libya's rebels have recovered hundreds of miles (kilometers) of flat, uninhabited territory at record speeds after Gadhafi's forces were forced to pull back by international air strikes.

The rebels took back two key oil complexes along the coastal highway and promised to quickly restart Libya's stalled oil exports, prompting a slight drop in the soaring price of crude oil to around $105 a barrel.

Moving quickly westward, the advance retraced their steps in the first rebel march toward the capital. But this time, the world's most powerful air forces have eased the way by pounding Gadhafi's military assets for the past week.

Sirte is strategically located about halfway between the rebel-held east and the Gadhafi-controlled west along the Mediterranean coast. It is a bastion of support for Gadhafi and is expected to be difficult for rebels to take.

West of Sirte is the embattled city of Misrata, the sole place in rebel hands in the country's west. Residents reported fighting between rebels and Gadhafi loyalists who fired from tanks on residential areas.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The World

AP Video
Today in History for July 26th Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Today in History for July 25th Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot