Gaddafi offensive rolls up rebel-held towns


BREGA/AJDABIYAH – Muammar Gaddafi’s troops seized the strategic Libyan oil town of Brega on Sunday forcing rebels to retreat under a heavy bombardment while world powers considered imposing a no-fly zone.
Losing Brega and its refinery further limits rebel access to fuel after the insurgents were pushed out of Ras Lanuf on Sunday, another major oil terminal some 100 km to the west along the coast road where all of Libya’s important towns are located.
“Brega has been cleansed of armed gangs,” a Libyan government army source told state television. Defeated rebel fighters were demoralised “There’s no uprising any more,” said rebel Nabeel Tijouri, whose heavy-machinegun had been destroyed in the fighting. “The other day we were in Ras Lanuf, then Brega, the day after tomorrow they will be in Benghazi.”
The speed of the government advance may overtake drawn-out diplomatic wrangling on whether or how to impose a no-fly zone. The US said a call by the Arab League for a UN no-fly zone protect Libyan cities was an “important step”. But while Washington said it was preparing for “all contingencies”, it remains cautious over endorsing direct military intervention.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said the League had “officially asked the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone against any military action against the Libyan people,” a move condemned by the Libyan govt.