Eight rebels killed in fighting on Misrata road

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 09, 2011 1:01 PM
Eight rebels killed in fighting on Misrata road

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Libyan rebels said they repelled a government attack on Misrata on Saturday and praised a "positive change" from NATO after it carried out several air strikes on Gaddafi's forces there.

The fighting centered on the Nakl al-Theqeel road to Misrata's rebel-controlled port, where a Red Cross-chartered vessel carrying medical supplies had docked earlier.

A rebel fighter who identified himself as Mustafa Abdulrahman said NATO had intensified its air strikes on government forces laying siege to Libya's third city.

"I have to say that the NATO forces have changed since yesterday, we are sensing a positive change. They have bombed at least four sites held by Gaddafi's forces in Misrata," he told Reuters by telephone.

NATO warplanes were still flying overhead, he said.

"The Gaddafi forces received supplies last night and reinforcements on the eastern side of the city. It seems they want to enter the port," Abdulrahman said.

It is not possible to verify the reports independently because journalists have not been allowed to report freely from Misrata, the lone rebel stronghold in western Libya.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Writing by Richard Lough; editing by Tim Pearce)