Gaddafi forces still moving on Benghazi: U.S. official

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 11:45 AM
Gaddafi forces still moving on Benghazi: U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite proclaiming a ceasefire, forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are continuing to advance toward the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, a U.S. national security official said on Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the troop movements were "purposeful." The troop movement assessment was based on official reporting reaching U.S. national security agencies in Washington, he said.

The official also said the U.S. agencies had confirmation that Gaddafi's forces were continuing to shell the western city of Misrata, where 25 people were reported killed on Friday by a doctor in the city.

The Libyan government has said its forces have conducted no military operations since announcing the ceasefire earlier on Friday.

The U.S. official said the developments suggested that while Gaddafi may have pledged to uphold the ceasefire, military action against the rebels was continuing.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball, Editing by Ross Colvin and Eric Walsh)