Monday, July 18, 2011

Libya: fighting intensifies in the port of Brega

While the Libyan insurgents have been trying for several days to resume the strategic oil port, intense street fighting broke out Sunday, July 17 between the Libyan and rebel forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, announced the rebels. "Some small groups have managed to get inside (the city) but we do not control any more" the city, said Mohammed Zawi, a spokesman for the rebel troops.

"It is now close combat" in this residential area of north-east of Brega, he added. Loyalist soldiers control since April this port located 800 km east of Tripoli and 240 km southwest of Benghazi, "capital" of the rebellion. 3000 men loyal to Colonel Qaddafi are entrenched in the city center, according to the rebels.

Insurgents have launched an offensive on Thursday evening from the south, north and east of Brega. The fighting left at least 13 dead and nearly 200 wounded among the rebels. Their progress is slowed by hundreds of mines and the discovery Saturday of defensive trenches dug around the city and filled with flammable products.

Brega three areas: a residential area in the east, a major oil facility in the west and the old town between the two. In addition to supplying insurgents in hydrocarbons, the site located at the southeastern tip of the Gulf of Sirte allow the rebellion, if taken in good condition, improve its financial position by exporting oil.

NATO, for its part said Sunday to monitor the situation Brega, and said they bombed in the morning a large warehouse of military vehicles including tanks and other armored Tajoura, 30 km east of Tripoli. In the West, the situation remained calm Sunday, the insurgents will seek to consolidate their positions after a few days before sudden advances.

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