Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libya : Gaddafi Casefire As Forces Attack Rebel Stronghold Of Benghazi,Video

Libya, March 19 (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar GaddafiMuammar Gaddafi’s forces pushed into the rebel-held city of Benghazi on Saturday, defying world demands for an immediate ceasefire and after France’s U.N. envoy predicted an imminent military action.

Explosions shook Benghazi while a fighter jet was heard flying overhead, and residents said the eastern rebel stronghold was under attack from Gaddafi’s forces.The explosions started about 2 a.m. Gaddafi's forces are advancing, we hear they're 20 kms (12 miles) from Benghazi.

Gaddafi’s forces advance into Benghazi pre-empted an international meeting hosted by France on Saturday to discuss military intervention in Libya. The meeting will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Arab leaders.

“We saw Gaddafi’s tanks, cars and missile trucks less than five km away,” a rebel figher giving his name as Mohammed told Reuters.United States accused Gaddafi of defying international demands for an immediate ceasefire, and France’s U.N. envoy predicted military action within hours of the Paris meeting on Libya on Saturday.

Black plumes of smoke could be seen on the road to the west of the city.“Fighter jets bombed the road to the airport and there’s been an air strike on the Abu Hadi district on the outskirts,” Mohammed Dwo, a hospital worker and a rebel supporter, told Reuters.

He was speaking at the scene of an apparent firefight between rebels and what they claimed were two mercenaries who had infiltrated the city and were driving in a car which they said contained a crate of handgrenades.

In Tripoli the government said there had been no bombing since it announced the ceasefire.

“We have had no bombardment of any kind since the ceasefire was declared,” Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told journalists when asked about reports of continued government operations in Misrata and other parts of the country.

Kaim said Libya was asking China, Germany, Malta and Turkey to send observers to monitor its adherence to the ceasefire.French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Friday everything was ready to launch military strikes in Libya.

The United States, after embarking on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, had insisted it would participate in rather than lead any military action. Obama said the United States would not deploy ground troops in Libya.

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