Tripoli, Jun 12 (Prensa Latina) Libyan rebels, backed by NATO air force, have stepped up attacks in Zawiyah and other western villages close to the capital, after reporting the capture of 17 government soldiers on Saturday.
During the early hours of Sunday the insurgents put up stiff resistance to the troops loyal to leader Muamar Gadaffi that thwarted the rebels’ attempt to move towards Tripoli, while the capital continues to be the target NATO’s attacks. NATO warplanes kept raids over military and civilian objectives where Gadaffi’s government has allegedly established command and control center of their operations against rebels.
Reports from both adversaries were similar regarding intensity and success of skirmishes in Zawiyah but corroborated that land fighting was stronger in strategic areas such as in the coastal road to the Tunisian border.
The Executive spokesman Moussa Ibrahim minimized the impact of the rebels’ attacks, saying it was very light, launched by a 20-25-strong group that was trapped after fighting the government forces at about 50 kilometers from Tripoli.
They do not represent any danger for us, insisted Ibrahim to journalists, without confirming and denying information about the capture of 17 soldiers loyal to Gadaffi during the surprise attack to Zawiyah.
The rebels’ spokesman Guma El-Gamaty told reporters in that town that they plan to retake a key oil center as part of the final objective, Tripoli’s implosion, and for that purpose they are hidden and training in the Western Mountains.
Meanwhile unconfirmed independent reports also referred that Gadaffi’s troops attacked a village in the western outskirts of Misratah, at about 200 kilometres west of Tripoli, killing over 30 rebels.