News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Claim Control of Misrata Airport

A rebel army officer teaches the use of a weapon to civilians, who have volunteered to join the rebel army, in Benghazi, May 11, 2011
A rebel army officer teaches the use of a weapon to civilians, who have volunteered to join the rebel army, in Benghazi, May 11, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Libyan rebels in the besieged western city of Misrata say they have taken control of the municipal airport following days of heavy fighting, seizing large quantities of weapons and ammunition in a significant victory against forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.

VOA's Elizabeth Arrott speaks about the changing picture in Libya:

Opposition military sources in Misrata, including the commander at the airport, said Wednesday that rebels have secured the entire facility, which had become the main base for pro-Gadhafi forces in the city.

The rebels entered the airport after a series of coordinated NATO airstrikes on government artillery batteries and military vehicles. The New York Times  reported that by Wednesday evening, residents in the battered city, under siege for almost two months, began celebrating.

Late Wednesday, Mr. Gadhafi made his first television appearance since a NATO airstrike on a house in the capital, Tripoli, killed one of his sons and three grandchildren on April 30.  Libyan state television filmed him at a brief meeting with tribal leaders. A projection screen behind Mr. Gadhafi showed Wednesday's date.

Meanwhile, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski visited the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi Wednesday to demonstrate European support for their cause and deliver medical aid. Sikorski told opposition leaders that the people of Poland and the EU "wish the Libyan nation victory in the transition to democracy."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday urged the Libyan government stop its assault and allow humanitarian access to civilians in need. Mr. Ban made the request during a phone call to to Libya's prime minister, al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi.

Also Wednesday, a leading U.S. senator said he is drafting legislation to authorize the transfer of Mr. Gadhafi's frozen assets to the opposition Transitional National Council.  John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not disclose the amount of cash, but said it would be enough to impact the crises faced by the council.

Senator Kerry spoke after meeting in Washington with Libyan opposition leaders, including Mahmoud Jibril, head of the council's crisis committee.

Earlier, the U.N. refugee agency called on European nations and boat captains in the Mediterranean to rescue people fleeing Libya's conflict. Agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Tuesday that any boat leaving Libya should be considered in need of assistance.

She urged governments and captains not to wait for distress calls but to head immediately to the vessels to see if the people on board are in need of help.

Fleming commented after a flimsy vessel reportedly overloaded with more than 600 passengers capsized Friday shortly after leaving Libya. At least 16 bodies have been recovered.

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

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid