Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Libyan rebels push towards Tripoli

Libyan rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi's forces say they have launched a major push towards Tripoli

Libyan rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi's forces say they have launched a major push toward a key town along the Mediterranean coast near Tripoli, backed by tanks and rocket fire.

Hundreds of fighters are on the move along the road in Yafran toward the front lines, where heavy fighting seems to be under way.

The ground is reverberating with loud booms and rocket fire is echoing from the distance.

Two Libyan rebel fighters, Jumma Hussein and Youssef Bilin, say their forces are trying to "first liberate Bir Ghanam" and then capture a key coastal town, Zawiyah, before heading on to Tripoli.

The rebels said earlier this week they hope to reach the Libyan capital before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Earlier rebel commander said his forces had unconfirmed reports that a Nato air strike destroyed a caravan of camels carrying weapons from neighbouring Chad.

Abdullah Aitha, who commands rebels fighting in the south-eastern Kufra region, said the caravan was made up of hundreds of camels and carried heavy-calibre machine guns, mortars and ammunition.

He said the air strike came last night in a desert 62 miles from the Chad border as the caravan was heading for the city of Sebha, 400 miles south of the capital Tripoli.

Sebha is a key Gaddafi stronghold deep in the country's south-western deserts where much of the Libyan leader's loyal troops hail from.

"The camels are totally burned and the weapons are all destroyed," Mr Aitha said.

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