Gaddafi’s forces attack rebels near Ajdabiya | world | Hindustan Times
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Gaddafi’s forces attack rebels near Ajdabiya

world Updated: Apr 17, 2011 23:29 IST

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Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi pounded rebels on the eastern frontline of Ajdabiya on Sunday amid fierce battle for the strategic oil town of Brega while the western besieged town of Misurata came under heavy artillery attack from Libyan troops.

The western edge of Ajdabiya, the gateway to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, came under fire from a barrage of rockets fired by Libyan troops, forcing hundreds of residents and some rebel fighters to flee the key crossroads town.

Libyan rebels had earlier advanced from Ajdabiya toward Brega in the country’s east. However, they were outflanked by the government troops who avoided the main body of fighting in order to attack from Ajdabiya's south, Al Jazeera news channel said.

Reports said the anti-Gaddafi fighters' advance on Brega have been overturned as government forces opened second front and attacked Ajdabiya.

The government troops remain consolidated within the city centre, said rebel fighters returning to Ajdabiya.

"We have people on the edge of Brega, we control that area only," said Mohammed el-Misrati. "Nothing has changed inside Brega," he said.

The battle to control the territory in eastern frontline left eight anti-Gaddafi fighters dead and 16 wounded on Saturday, the pan-Arab channel said.

The rebels blamed the western alliance for failing to give them enough support.

"Where are the NATO forces?" asked Absalam Hamid, who identified himself as a rebel captain. "We don’t know why they didn’t bomb them," he was quoted as saying by the NYT.

In Misurata, Libya's third largest city, at least six people were killed on Sunday and 47 others injured in artillery fire.

For the fourth day in a row, troops loyal to Gaddafi shelled Misurata, which has been besieged for seven weeks and now is faced with sever food shortages. Hundreds of civilians are believed to have died in fighting and bombing in the city over the last several weeks.

Earlier, the rebels said they had reached the edges of Brega, 80-km west of Ajdabiya. Many fled the attack as loud explosions boomed across the town.