Rebels close in on Gaddafi's home turf
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Tripoli/Washington, Mar 28: Libyan rebels today inched closer to Muammar Gaddafi's tribal home turf of Sirte which was battered by coalition jets even as Russia slammed NATO for military intervention, saying it went beyond the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution.
Capitalising on the overnight air attacks after NATO took command of the military operations in Libya, rebels surged towards Sirte after regaining control of five strategic towns including Ajdabiya, Brega and Ras Lanuf.
Al Jazeera quoted Shamsi Abdul Molah, spokesman for the opposition's National Council, as saying that the rebels had moved into the city and taken control but there was no independent corroboration.
"They found it to be an unarmed city. They had no problem in getting in there as they encountered no resistance," Al-Jazeera quoted him as saying in Benghazi.
Sirte is located about halfway along the coast between Tripoli and Benghazi.
Russia strongly opposed NATO taking command of military operations in Libya. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow that the Security Council had only sanctioned use of force to implement the no-fly zone but had not authorised the coalition to interfere in the internal strife in the country.
"Here we see obvious contradictions. We believe that the interference of the coalition in the internal civil war is not sanctioned by the UNSC resolution," Lavrov said voicing Moscow's unhappiness with NATO coalition forces' siding with anti-Gaddafi rebels.
An intense battle for the key city of Misrata continued to rage with street fighting going on between heavily armed Gaddafi's forces and rebels in the city centre.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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