Rebels defeat Libya oil town attack
Rebels in Libya have strengthened their hold on the strategic oil installation at Brega after repelling an attempt by loyalists of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to retake it.
International pressure on the Libyan leader increased as an international court began investigating whether to charge him and his inner circle with crimes against humanity.
Army units allied with the rebels fanned out in the oil facilities and port at Brega, armed with machine guns and rocket launchers.
Government warplanes launched a new air strike on the town on Thursday morning, according to witnesses. It was not clear what they targeted but it was likely to be an airstrip that belongs to the huge oil complex on the Mediterranean coast.
There were no reports of casualties, however, and pro-Gaddafi forces had withdrawn to another oil port, Ras Lanouf, 80 miles west along the coast after their defeat a day earlier.
In the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, east of the oil port, hundreds of mourners chanted "Down with Gaddafi" as they buried three of the at least 14 rebel fighters killed in fighting on Wednesday.
Gaddafi's regime has unleashed the bloodiest crackdown of any Arab nation to the wave of anti-government protests in the region. Hundreds are known to have been killed and some estimates top 1,000.
In the Netherlands, the top prosecutor at the Hague-based International Criminal Court said he would investigate Gaddafi and his inner circle, including some of his sons, for possible crimes against humanity in the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Gaddafi and several commanders and regime officials had formal or de facto control over forces that attacked protesters. There will be "no impunity in Libya," he vowed.
Opposition leaders are pleading for foreign powers to launch air strikes to help them oust Gaddafi as the US moves military forces closer to Libyan shores to put military muscle behind Washington's calls for Gaddafi to give up power immediately.