Tripoli: In a bid to cripple Gaddafi’s army, NATO forces have launched an attack on Libya’s major oil facilities as the rebels have moved within 50 kilometres of capital Tripoli.
NATO forces struck one of Libya’s biggest petrochemical complexes and port for export in Brega to prevent regime troops from mounting attacks and hitting their supplies.
“This was not done lightly, we looked at the pattern of life on the ground, and we decided that the only ones benefiting from the fuel were the Gaddafi forces and not local people. And they were using that fuel to carry out attacks on civilians,” senior British commander in Libya operation, Rear Admiral Russ Harding was quoted as saying by a newspaper.
Rear Admiral Harding stressed that only refueling facilities were being hit and not oil tanks.
“By depriving Gaddafi of fuel we are depriving him of mobility. We have seen his forces drive deep down into the desert to pick up supplies, pick up ammunition,” he said.
Limiting fuel supplies would prevent regime troops from carrying out attacks in the eastern front as well as moving to the west, where an attack by the rebels has brought their fighters close to Tripoli, with the most advanced in the village of Qawalish, south-east of the city and the mountain village of Kikla.
Gaddafi’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Kaim, said that NATO’s increased bombings represented the ‘final phase’ of the air campaign, aimed for clearing a path for the rebels. He insisted that the push ‘will fail and it is the civilians who will pay the price’.