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NATO strikes help drive back Gaddafi forces

Posted by on April 11, 2011 0 Comment

Fighting continues on the ground in Libya, where rebels have credited NATO airstrikes with helping them drive Moammar Gaddafi’s forces out of the key eastern city of Ajdabiyah.

Meanwhile, delegates from the African Union have met with Gaddafi to try to broker a cease-fire. They say the Libyan leader has accepted a roadmap for ending the conflict in the north African country.

Four airstrikes launched by NATO forces appeared to have halted what had been previously heavy shelling of Ajdabiyah by government forces.

The coalition said 11 tanks were destroyed near the town and another 14 near Misrata, the only city the rebels still hold in the western half of Libya.

In Ajdabiya, Gadhafi’s forces fled the western gate and by mid-afternoon had been pushed back about 60 kilometers west of the city, although sporadic shelling could still be heard.

The city is experiencing the government’s most sustained offensive since Gaddafi loyalists were driven back west by international airstrikes last month.

If Ajdabiya changes hands, Gaddafi’s forces would have a clear path to Benghazi…the rebel’s stronghold and the country’s second largest city.

Meanwhile, envoys from the African Union, including South African President Jacob Zuma have met with Gadhafi in Tripoli trying to broker a ceasefire.

The AU delegates had several hours of talks with the Libyan leader at his Bab al-Aziziyah compound on Sunday.

The African bloc said earlier that its proposals call for an immediate cease-fire, opening channels for humanitarian aid and talks between the rebels and the government.

After the meeting, Zuma said Gaddafi has accepted a roadmap for ending the conflict in Libya. He added that the African delegation would now travel to the eastern city of Benghazi for talks with anti-Gaddafi factions. Agencies


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