Thursday, July 14, 2011

Libyan Rebels Strike As Turkey Prepares to Offer Ceasefire Plan

Rebels were active in western and eastern Libya today on the eve of a 40-nation meeting in Istanbul where Turkey planned to propose a political "roadmap" for ending the Libyan civil war.

Insurgents in Western Libya halted an offensive within 50 miles of Tripoli to regroup, while the main opposition army in the east set its sights on the oil town of Brega, which has gone back and forth between forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and the rebels.

"We have been focused on the west of the country but now we will move," a rebel military source told Agence France Presse.

"We are preparing to enter Brega. The attack will come soon," another rebel fighter told the French wire service.

But Gadhafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim claimed loyalist forces successfully repelled the initial attack.

"It was a full scale attack and it was heavy and merciless," Ibrahim told reporters. "We were successful in combating this attack and we did defeat both NATO and the rebels and we killed many rebel forces and captured a good number of them as well."

The Libya Contact Group, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will meet tomorrow in Istanbul to discuss the next steps for removing Gadhafi from power and how to proceed in the post-regime era.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu will offer the proposal that apparently will begin with a ceasefire.

"The main aim is to find a political solution to accelerate efforts to end the bloodshed," a spokesman told The Guardian of London.

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