Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Libyan Rebels Fall Back as Qaddafi Forces Near Benghazi

Muammar Qaddafi set his sights on Benghazi as his forces moved into the gateway city of Ajdabiya, 100 miles (161 kilometers) from the rebel capital, and prospects faded for a NATO-led no-fly zone to stop their advance.

The embattled Libyan dictator, appearing with a small group of supporters on state-run television, vowed to fight rebel "rats" and said "we are going to destroy them." In Benghazi, hundreds of his opponents, watching the broadcast projected on the side of a building, jeered and threw shoes in disrespect, according to a live video feed shown by Al Jazeera television.

The Libyan army is "coming to secure Benghazi," state-run television said. Pro-Qaddafi forces attacked on two sides of Ajdabiya using airstrikes and artillery, forcing out-gunned rebels and civilians to flee ahead of troops in tanks and personnel carriers, the Associated Press reported. There were conflicting reports on who controlled the city after nightfall.


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