The best trained fighters in the Libyan rebel force in the East reportedly have moved to the front lines around the oil town of Brega, halting further advance by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.
Those experienced fighters, who are said to have defected from Gadhafi's army and joined the rebel cause, are showing signs of following a unified command structure for the first time, MSNBC reported. It is not clear whether British and U.S. covert operators played a role in the improved rebel strategy, but the timing of the turnaround is curious.
The rebel resurgence came as coaliton warplanes reportedly bombed several rebel vehicles, killing 13 fighters and wounding seven others. Some rebel leaders blamed the incident on Gadhafi loyalists who infultrated their ranks and fired anti-aircraft fire into the air, drawing the strikes by the coalition aircraft.
The rebels asked that the incident not hamper NATO airstrikes.
"I only feel sad about the people who died, I don't blame the pilots at all," Tarek Al-Shagaaby, a law student turned rebel, told The Telegraph of London.
"It was a big disaster for NATO but we don't want the air strikes stopped. Gadhafi has heavy artillery and without NATO he could easily overwhelm us. We buried those we found at the site, they were martyrs," said Al-Shagaaby, who was a mile away from a huge fireball shortly after midnight, and then later buried the bodies of the rebels in the desert.
The larger problem, the rebels admit, is the possibility that they are being infiltrated by Gadhafi loyalists.