Gaddafi`s troops pound rebels, fierce fighting for Brega

Troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday pounded the western town of Misurata, which has been under its siege for weeks.

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2011, 19:30 PM IST

Tripoli: Troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday pounded the western town of Misurata, which has been under its siege for weeks, as rebel forces in the east were
involved in a seesaw desert battle for control of the
strategic oil town of Brega.

Massive shelling by government forces killed at least
one person and wounded several others today in Misurata, the
country`s third largest city and the main rebel stronghold in
the west.

It is unclear who controls Brega, which has been the
scene of fierce fighting over the past few days when
pro-Gaddafi forces returned after being driven out by rebel
forces.

Amid conflicting reports, the rebels claimed that they
had regained control over Brega, 800 km east of Tripoli, that
has seen a see-saw battle after Gaddafi`s forces struck hard
at the rebels who had earlier pushed them out.

However, the opposition`s advance appeared to be slow
and uncertain despite two weeks of air strikes targeting the
Gaddafi regime by the western military coalition, Al Jazeera
channel said.

The Arab channel said the opposition forces have
advanced to a walled university campus near the town`s western
edge. "If you compare where we are today to where we were a
few weeks ago, then we are in the exact same position," it
said.

According to BBC, a doctor in Misurata, 214 kilometres
east of the capital Tripoli, said his clinic was overwhelmed.

"We have one killed, three in the operating room now,
one with an amputated leg, we have one in ICU (intensive care)
because of shell fragments in his chest and we have six
wounded with different wounds and they are waiting for an
operation but we have only three operating rooms," Al Jazeera
quoted Ayman as telling BBC.

At least 13 rebels were killed in a "regrettable" NATO
airstrike near Brega yesterday. NATO said it was ascertaining
reports that a coalition warplane hit a rebel position in the
midst of heavy fighting with Gaddafi`s forces.

Al Jazeera and BBC reports said a rebel convoy on its
way to the front line near Brega fired an anti-aircraft gun
into the air. Assuming it to have come from Gaddafi`s forces,
coalition warplane targeted the vehicles.

"We are looking into these reports. We are always
concerned by reports of civilian casualties. NATO`s mission is
to protect civilians and civilian areas from the threat of
attack," Oana Lungescu, a spokeswoman for NATO, was quoted as
saying.

Mustafa Gheriani, a spokesperson for the opposition`s
Transitional National Council, said: "We understand that
collateral damage may also take place and we do accept it,
because we look at the big picture which saving more lives."

"The leadership is working on preventing a
re-occurrence."

PTI