Tripoli says key town recaptured from rebels

Libyan rebels from the Berber-dominated Nafusa mountain range south of Tripoli claimed the capture of Bir Ghanam on Saturday as they pushed further east toward the capital.

Last Updated: Aug 07, 2011, 22:11 PM IST

Tripoli: Government troops have recaptured
the strategic town of Bir Ghanam, southwest of Tripoli, from
rebel forces, Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi told
reporters on Sunday.

"Life is back to normal in Bir Ghanam, and today it is
under the full control of the regime," Mahmudi said a day
after rebels said they captured the town which lies just 80
kilometres from the capital.

Libyan rebels from the Berber-dominated Nafusa mountain
range south of Tripoli claimed the capture of Bir Ghanam on
Saturday as they pushed further east toward the capital.

A news agency correspondent on the scene said rebels from the
Berber-dominated Nafusa mountains began a two-pronged assault
from Bir Ayad earlier that day. By late afternoon, rebel
commanders said Bir Ghanam was seized.

The rebels have been using the Nafusa as a springboard to
advance on Tripoli but have encountered strong resistance from
fighters loyal to Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi.

Mahmudi also condemned the intensification of NATO raids
on Tripoli and other cities, claiming that the alliance no
longer "differentiates between civilian and military sites."

NATO said its warplanes attacked 45 targets across Libya
on Saturday, including an ammunition storage facility and a
multiple rocket launcher system in the Bir Ghanam area.

Mahmudi criticised the National Transitional Council
(NTC), the rebels` de facto government, and the security
situation in the rebel-controlled east, especially after last
month`s assassination of General Abdel Fatah Yunis, who was a
long-time ally of Gaddafi before defecting.

The premier claimed that the "decision-making and the
real forces in the field are in the hands of Islamist
extremist groups."

PTI