Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gadhafi forces attack oil refinery in Misrata

.- Forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi on Monday bombed a refinery that supplies the rebel city of Misrata, after the insurgents launched an offensive into the coastal city of Zliten in the West. Zliten fighting near the rebellion would take closer to Tripoli, the Libyan leader's stronghold located 200 kilometers west of Misrata.

A correspondent near the port of Misrata said six rockets hit the refinery's generators, damaging seriously. "The damage is enough to stop production at the refinery, which has been working at a fraction of its total capacity to supply the city of Misrata" said Juma Abu-FONASA engineer.

The engineer was unable to indicate how long it would take to repair or install new generators. A photographer in Misrata, most rebellious town in western Libya, joined the rebels early in their progress towards Zliten. The photographer was taken to the westernmost point controlled by the rebels along the main road, the insurgents blocked using containers and sand to provide protection for its fighters.

Both sides exchanged heavy artillery fire after the rebels took control of a mosque in a growing area on the side of the road. On the walls of the mosque rebels erased graffiti in Arabic that read "Muammar". A doctor in a hospital in Dafniyah, west of Misrata, said two rebels were killed and at least 12 wounded in rocket attacks near the temple.

Misrata rebels said tribal sensitivities prevented them from attack and were waiting for Zliten residents to rise up in arms. Germany agreed on Monday to the rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, providing significant support to the insurgent leaders that seek to govern the country if Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown.

The announcement is made by the German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, on a visit to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, is significant because Germany has been reluctant to intervene in the conflict Libya and did not participate in NATO military action. "We share the same goal without Gaddafi Libya," Westerwelle said in a press conference in Benghazi after meeting with members of the rebel National Transition Council, considered by many as the next government.

The rebel council has been recognized by France, Italy, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, among other countries. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the leaders of Africa to follow suit and leave Gadhafi. Gaddafi has been presented as the "king of kings" in Africa and for years received support from several states of the continent in exchange for financial support and generous gifts.

Most countries in the region has shown little enthusiasm for the rebels. "It is clear that long since passed the day (Gaddafi) could remain in power," Clinton said in a speech to the African Union at its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital. "His words and actions could make a difference in bringing this situation to an end and allow the Libyans are put to work in the drafting of a constitution and rebuild their country," he added.

Libyan television reported Monday that NATO planes bombed targets in the town of Al Jufrah in the center of the country. The British army chief warned on Monday that a prolonged military campaign could pose a challenge to its resources. "Beyond that (90 days) (...) may have to ask the Government to take some tough decisions about what priorities we want," said Admiral Mark Stanhope told reporters during a press conference with the head of the U.S.

Navy in London. Western governments say it is only a matter of time before the Government for 41 years Gaddafi comes to an end under the weight of a NATO military intervention, sanctions and defections within his inner circle. But Gadhafi has refused to resign and has proven a wily survivor.

Libyan television showed him playing a game on Sunday with the president of the international chess federation. Its armed forces have demonstrated in recent days will not be bowed, causing casualties on the rebels on several fronts. The rebels said Sunday they were repulsed by the forces of Gadhafi in a battle to recover the oil city of Brega, in the east, despite having the support of NATO.

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