SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

The World

March 10, 2011

Rebels fight Gadhafi with heavy weapons, diplomacy

RAS LANOUF, Libya — Libya's opposition battled for military and diplomatic advantage against Moammar Gadhafi's regime on Thursday, winning official recognition from France and hitting government forces with heavy weapons on the road to the capital.

France became the first country to formally recognize the rebels' newly created Interim Governing Council, saying it planned to exchange ambassadors after President Nicolas Sarkozy met with two representatives of the group based in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

"It breaks the ice," said Mustafa Gheriani, an opposition spokesman. "We expect Italy to do it, and we expect England to do it."

Germany said it froze billions in assets of the Libyan Central Bank and other state-run agencies. The U.S., UK, Switzerland, Austria and other countries have also frozen Gadhafi's assets.

"The brutal suppression of the Libyan freedom movement can now no longer be financed from funds that are in German banks," Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said.

Both sides in Libya are lobbying for support from Western countries as their leaders debate whether to protect the rebels from Gadhafi's air force by putting a no-fly zone over some or all of the country. Britain and France have backed the rebels' calls for a no-fly zone, but the Obama adminstration has expressed deep reservations about involvement in another conflict in the greater Middle East.

NATO said it had started round-the-clock surveillance of the air space over Libya, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said a meeting of EU foreign ministers would discuss how to isolate the regime.

The Libyan government tried to stave off tough action, sending envoys to Egypt, Portugal and Greece.

The international Red Cross said dozens of civilians have been wounded or killed in recent days in grueling battles between Gadhafi's army and the opposition movement trying to oust him.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The World

AP Video
Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Today in History for July 22nd Raw: Black Boxes of Downed Jetliner Turned Over UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike Raw: Gaza City Shelling Attack Today in History for July 21st Recording May Show Attempt at Crash Cover-up Deadliest Day Yet of Israel-Gaza Fighting
NDN Video
Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open