News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Battle for Control of Supply Route

Rebel supporters burn copies of Gadhafi's 'Green Book' in the main square of the Qasr Bin Ghashir district in Tripoli, Libya, August 27, 2011
Rebel supporters burn copies of Gadhafi's 'Green Book' in the main square of the Qasr Bin Ghashir district in Tripoli, Libya, August 27, 2011

Libyan rebels say they have gained control of a key border post near Tunisia, but are still fighting for control of the western city of Zuwarah.

Opposition fighters faced stiff resistance Saturday from forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in their efforts to advance into Zuwarah.  A major supply route to Tripoli crosses Zuwarah.  The coastal city is about 50 kilometers from the Tunisian border.

On Friday, rebels seized Ras Adjir, a border post along the same route.

Many Libyans living in the capital have no electricity or running water.  Transitional National Council (TNC) spokesman Mahmoud Shammam said Saturday the opposition group hoped to make the "difficult period" for Tripoli residents as short as possible.

Meanwhile, NATO warplanes pounded a large bunker in Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte on Friday.  Libya's leader has dropped out of sight since rebel fighters seized Tripoli; Sirte is considered one place where he may be hiding.

British warplanes fired precision-guided missiles at the Sirte bunker complex. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said NATO was not specifically targeting Gadhafi, but that the airstrikes are intended to make sure that the country's long-time ruler and his forces can no longer continue "waging war."

TNC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Saturday that rebels have no "factual" reports on the whereabouts of Gadhafi or his sons.

At the U.N. headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that African, Arab and European organizations have agreed that the turmoil in Libya has entered "a new and decisive phase.''  

Ban said the international community is ready to send a police force into Libya - if requested - because the country is "awash in small arms."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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