Libya Rebels Advance to Brega

Leader says key oil town within reach
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2011 5:29 AM CDT
Fire and smoke rises from storage warehouse at a construction site that is run by a foreign company, with no clear causes of the incident, in Benghazi, Libya Friday, April 15, 2011.   (Nasser Nasser)
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(Newser) – An officer with Libya's rebels says after four days of holding back, his forces have advanced to the strategic oil town of Brega. Col. Hamid Hassy said today that following scattered clashes with government forces, the rebels were now near the massive oil facilities—and have with them engineers to repair any damage to the refineries and terminal. The town has already changed hands half a dozen times since fighting erupted a month and a half ago.

Hassy attributed the advance to several days of NATO airstrikes softening up Moammar Gadhafi's forces. The airstrikes have kept rebels from being outright defeated by the better trained and equipped government forces on the battlefield. (Read more Brega, Libya stories.)

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