Monday, June 13, 2011

Libya says rebels still fighting near capital

.- Rebels fighting for a second day Sunday against the troops loyal to the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the city of Zawiyah, in fighting that came the revolt against the Government a few kilometers from the capital. A government spokesman in Tripoli said the rebels had tried to penetrate Zawiyah, about 50 kilometers from the capital but had been detained by government troops loyal to Gadhafi.

However, a rebel contradicted that version ensuring that fought the tough fights Sunday and a Reuters reporter who attended a tour of the government Zawinyah heard gunshots near the central plaza of the city. Zawiyah was the scene of battles in February and March. Gadhafi's forces put down the rebellion and used bulldozers to crush the city's central mosque.

Three months later, the balance of forces seems to have changed since Gadhafi is under pressure from sanctions, defections from his environment and NATO air attack, which has been bombarding his Bab al-Aziziyah complex in the capital. State television showed pictures of Gadhafi, who has kept a low profile since NATO began air strikes, along with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the International Chess Association.

Ilyumzhinov said, in quotes picked up by Russian news agencies, which had played a game against the Libyan leader in Tripoli and told him he had no intentions of leaving the country. The upsurge in fighting in Zawinyah, where there is a large oil refinery, is the closest approach of the rebels to Gadhafi's headquarters in the capital in months.

When asked about the government's claim that the uprising had been quelled, a spokesman for the rebels in Zawinyah told Reuters by telephone: "No, not true." "The revolutionaries (insurgents) control several sections of the coastal road linking Tripoli with Tunis and fighting is still in the center of the city," said the spokesman, who identified himself as M'hamed Ezzawi.

"The situation is bad, very bad," he told Reuters on Sunday a rebel spokesman, who identified himself as Ibrahim said by telephone from Zawiyah, located about 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. In previous statements Ezzawi 13 people, including combatants and civilians - including a 7 years, had died in clashes on Saturday.

The Libyan government spokesman Ibrahim Moussa told reporters at a news conference in Tripoli that rebel forces numbered no more than 100 fighters had attacked a checkpoint just outside of Zawiyah on Saturday. The official said government forces killed and captured some rebels and the rest was surrounded in an area located west of the city and negotiated their surrender.

"This is just another proof of how weak or unpopular are (the rebels)," said Ibrahim. Meanwhile, United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Sunday that the Libyan rebel council recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the people of Libya. "This recognition affirms that UAE is committed to maintaining strong ties with the Libyan people," said Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a statement carried by WAM.

"Based on this, the UAE's negotiations with the (rebel) National Transition Council will form a government to government relationship in all matters relating to Libya."

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