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Nato doing too little, says rebel

A Libyan rebel military leader has lashed out at Nato saying it is not doing enough to protect opponents of Colonel Gaddafi.

Abdel-Fattah Younis said Nato forces "don't do anything" even though the United Nations gave them the right to act.

He complained about what he says is an overly bureaucratic process that means Nato takes hours to respond to events on the battlefield.

Mr Younis also said that if Nato wanted to lift Gaddafi's weeks-long siege in the western city of Misrata, it could have done it weeks ago.

Nato claimed Gaddafi's forces have pulled tanks and other heavy weapons into civilian areas, making air strikes impossible in many cases.

But Mr Younis claims Gaddafi's forces are in areas of Misrata that have no civilians

"The people will die and this crime will be on the face of the international community forever. What is NATO doing?" Mr Younis said.

NATO last week took control over the international airstrikes that began March 19 as a US-led mission. The airstrikes thwarted Gaddafi's efforts to crush the rebellion in the North African nation he has ruled for more than four decades, but the rebels remain outnumbered and outgunned and have had difficulty pushing into government-held territory even with air support.

The Gaddafi regime has pushed back rebel forces in a strategic oil town to the east, while rebels claimed they fended off an attack by Gaddafi's forces in one of a string of opposition-controlled towns south-west of Tripoli. The rebels have maintained control of much of the eastern half of Libya since early in the uprising, while Gaddafi has clung to much of the west.

Gaddafi has reportedly been putting out feelers for a cease-fire, but refuses to step down as the opposition is demanding. His government has announced a new foreign minister, Abdelati al-Obeidi, who has been in Europe seeking a diplomatic solution. He replaces Musa Kusa, who defected and fled to Britain last week.

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