Friday, April 15, 2011

Libya rebels advance to test front line

Rebel fighters drive towards the front line near the eastern town Ajdabiya, to see if pro-regime forces had been rolled back by NATO warplanes. -- PHOTO: AFP

AJDABIYA - A LIBYAN rebel convoy fitted with big guns and rocket launchers drove past the eastern town of Ajdabiya on Friday to see if pro-regime forces had been rolled back by Nato warplanes.

The line of pick-up trucks nosed cautiously west, past a point that late on Thursday was the scene of a brief exchange of rocket and mortar fire with troops loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Journalists were prevented by a rebel checkpoint on Ajdabiya's outskirts from following the convoy.
The insurgents, fearful that live media coverage might give away their position and firepower to their enemy, shooed reporters away as they massed in Ajdabiya early on Friday.

It was an unusual burst of activity on what is usually a slow-moving prayer day in the Muslim world.

On Thursday, Nato jets were heard, but not seen, flying above the front line. A couple of big explosions were heard in the distance which might have been air strikes. The planes' intensified presence came as Nato foreign ministers agreed to keep up military pressure against Gaddafi's forces. 
-- AFP

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