lunes, 28 de marzo de 2011

Libyan Rebels 'Take Gaddafi Hometown' - Sky News

Libyan rebels claim to have taken Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, as they continue to push westward towards the capital Tripoli.

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"It's confirmed Sirte has fallen into pro-democracy hands," a rebel spokesman, Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, said.

The fall of the psychologically important position has not been independently verified.

However AFP said at least nine powerful explosions were heard in Sirte on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the Sirte action comes hours after Nato finally took full command of military operations in Libya from the US-led coalition on Sunday, enabling the alliance to strike at Col Gaddafi's forces if they threaten civilians.

The transfer to Nato came as the capital Tripoli was attacked on Sunday night by what state television called "the colonial aggressor."

Sky News producer Tom Rayner, reporting from Tripoli, said: "We heard at least four explosions, about 30 seconds apart.

"They were seemingly within the city and anti-aircraft fire commenced after the blasts."

The attacks occurred hours ahead of US President Barack Obama's planned address today in Washington to explain US involvement to a confused and sceptical public.

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The rebels' pursuit of Col Gaddafi's forces saw them wrest back control of key oil town Ras Lanuf and press on as far as Nofilia with the strongman's hometown of Sirte firmly in their sights 60 miles further along the road where the next major battle was expected.

Two loud explosions were heard around 8pm local time on Sunday in Sirte as planes flew overhead.

Shortly after the explosions in Sirte, Libyan television confirmed the city had been the target of air raids, as had Tripoli.

Witnesses in the capital said the strikes targeted the road to the airport, as well as the eastern Ain Zara neighbourhood.

It appeared anti-aircraft guns were not brought into action in Sirte, the next target of the rebel forces as they continue their push to Tripoli.

After the Nato decision to take charge of operations, secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the alliance taking over command was a "very significant step".

It would implement the UN Security Council resolution and "nothing more and nothing less".

People celebrate retaking of Ajdabiyah

Libyan rebels celebrate the retaking of Ajdabiya

a Downing Street spokesman said: "The military mission has helped to save countless civilians lives; has successfully established a no fly zone; and has helped shift the momentum on the ground against Gaddafi's attacks on the Libyan people.

"The agreement to transfer complete command and control of all military operations to Nato both ensures that partners from the region are able to participate and represents a significant step forward as we plan for the next phase of this vital mission."

:: A large protest occurred in rebel-held Benghazi on Sunday in support of a woman who was allegedly raped by Libyan officials and tried to explain her story to foreign journalists.

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