Fighting for the strategic Libyan town of Brega continues. The rebels are pushing back, after a second day of air attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces. Equipped with anti-aircraft gun and missiles, they are defiant, as they try to maintain their hold on the eastern part of the country.
One opposition fighter described the earlier air attack: “It happened just a few metres from here, about 50 metres from here. They made three flights bombarding us. The last one hit us directly here.”
The rebels, who include members of the army who have defected, are determined to keep going until Gaddafi is gone.
Another fighter even questioned the leader’s faith: “We want progress, not the corrupt infidel ruler. We are Muslims and we are telling Gaddafi to leave. He is supposed to be a Muslim too, but now his mask has slipped.”
Brega is crucial for both sides. The site of Libya’s second largest oil refinery, it is being seen as the front line between the rebel-controlled east and Gaddafi’s stronghold in the west.
Meanwhile in the capital, Tripoli, protesters held rallies after Friday prayers. Eye-witnesses said several hundred opponents of Gaddafi gathered in the Tajoura district of the city after coming out of mosques. A Reuters reporter on the ground said that Libyan security forces used tear gas to disperse crowds and added that gunfire could be heard.