Benghazi, Libya (AFP) March 28, 2011
Libya's rebel National Transitional Council vowed Monday they would forgive supporters of Colonel Moamer Kadhafi as long as they turned their backs on the leader whose forces have been pushed back under fierce coalition airstrikes.
"We ask the people around Kadhafi to abandon him. If they do so, we will forgive their wrongdoings," the main spokesman for the government-in-waiting, Abdulhafiz Ghoga, told reporters in the eastern rebel stronghold of Beghazi.
He said rebels were now "30 kilometres (20 miles) from Sirte," Kadhafi's hometown and a city halfway along Libya's long coastline that is one of the final barriers to the rebel push towards Tripoli, further to the west.
Ghoga said that Misrata, a city lying between Sirte and Tripoli that has been fought over by pro- and anti-regime forces, on Monday welcomed a humanitarian ship.
He did not detail what the vessel was carrying or who organized its passage, saying only a "European aid ship."
earlier related report
Tornado GR4s flying from Britain and refuelled in mid-air conducted strike missions against ammunition bunkers in Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's southern stronghold of Sebha, the defence ministry said.
"Storm Shadow missiles were launched against ammunition bunkers used to re-supply Libyan government troops attacking civilians in the north of the country, including Misrata," it said in a statement.
"Initial reports suggest that the bunkers have been destroyed and that the Libyan government has been denied ammunition it uses to threaten civilians in the north of the country."
Later Monday, the defence ministry confirmed that Brimstone missiles fired by British Tornado jets had destroyed two Libyan tanks and two armoured vehicles in the Misrata area.
Over the weekend, Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado jets had fired on numerous targets around the key eastern city of Ajdabiya, which rebels seized from Kadhafi's forces on Saturday.
The planes also attacked targets near the disputed port city of Misrata in the west and were continuing to patrol the area on Monday, the ministry said.
"Ordnance released hit a total of 22 tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery pieces in the vicinity of Ajdabiya and Misrata," the statement said.
It added: "Following the retreat of Colonel Kadhafi's forces from most of the coastal towns east of Sirte, RAF Tornados have joined other coalition aircraft patrolling over Misrata where, despite significant losses as a result of air strikes, the regime continues to mount attacks on the town."
Britain is part of an international coalition taking action to enforce a United Nations-sanctioned ceasefire and no-fly zone to protect civilians in Libya.
Foreign ministers from at least 35 countries are due to meet in London on Tuesday to discuss the operation, which has passed under NATO control.
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Libyan rebels advance as Kadhafi forces flee strikes
Benghazi, Libya (AFP) March 27, 2011
Libyan rebels were pushing their advance on Sunday after recapturing two key towns from Moamer Kadhafi's forces in their first major victories since the launch of Western-led air strikes. The rebels, who were in danger of losing their eastern stronghold city of Benghazi before the strikes were launched on March 19, on Saturday seized back Ajdabiya and Brega, 160 and 240 kilometres (100 and 1 ... read more
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