Rebels Drive Gadhafi Out of Misrata

As NATO intensifies air strikes, reports of rebel gains
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2011 11:20 AM CDT
A Libyan rebel volunteer fires in the air a machine gun during the final phase of a military training in the eastern city of Benghazi on May 9, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – As NATO steps up its airstrikes in Libya, rebels in Misrata are reporting major battlefield victories, saying they've driven Moammar Gadhafi's troops both out of the city and out of the nearby airport they'd been holed up in. A rebel spokesman tells Voice of America that the pro-government troops are now about nine miles away from the city. "This is a major victory," one rebel there tells the AP. "The Gadhafi forces have been suffering lack of supplies ... Their morale was very low after being defeated several times and pushed back."

Now, the Misrata rebels are pushing West toward Zlitan and eventually Tripoli. "The main goal is to topple down the tyrant and to liberate the capital," the rebel said. "Now Misrata is free ... Gadhafi can't get in there." Rebels are also reporting gains in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, where NATO airstrikes punctuated a stretch of ground combat. Meanwhile UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for "an immediate, verifiable cease-fire," saying Gadhafi's government had agreed to another special envoy visit.

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