Libya Rebels Surge Toward Qaddafi Home Town of Sirte


Qaddafi sending reinforcements. Tripoli-based journalists returning from a government trip to Sirte saw 17 pickup trucks filled with Qaddafi fighters entering the town. They also saw what appeared to be civilian cars piled with luggage fleeing Sirte

washingtonpost
Libyan rebels fought their way toward Moammar Gaddafi’s home town on the Mediterranean coast Monday as his government sent in reinforcements, setting up a potentially crucial battle in the six-week-old uprising against him.

Aided by airstrikes launched by a Western-led coalition, rebels seeking to end Gaddafi’s 41-year rule pushed westward to the town of Nawfaliyah and vowed to move in the coming days on Sirte, Reuters news agency reported. Sirte, the Libyan leader’s birthplace and stronghold, is about 90 miles west of Nawfaliyah.

At the same time, Tripoli-based journalists returning from a government trip to Sirte saw 17 pickup trucks filled with Gaddafi fighters entering the town. They also saw what appeared to be civilian cars piled with luggage fleeing Sirte.

The rebel advance was made possible by Western airstrikes that forced Gaddafi loyalist troops to abandon the strategic city of Ajdabiya last week and flee westward. As the loyalists withdrew, the ragtag rebel army recaptured the key oil hubs of Brega and Ras Lanuf and the town of Bin Jawwad on the highway that follows the coastline of the Gulf of Sidra