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Benghazi-bound Libyan army issues ultimatum

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Benghazi-bound Libyan army issues ultimatum


Relentlessly closing in on Libya’s rebel stronghold of Benghazi, pro-Gaddafi forces are celebrating fresh success.

The Colonel’s troops appear in control of the key town of Ajdabiyah despite reports of renewed resistance, with some rebels apparently refusing to surrender or flee.

Tribal and cultural divisions could still prove crucial to the struggle for Libya. While pro-Gaddafi tribes around Tripoli have vowed to resist any foreign intervention, some voices are calling for talks.

“My opinion is all our problems could be solved not be force, not by guns, not by terrorists, not by people coming with big beards but with a dialogue,” said tribal elder Saad Rajab.

Amid flagging diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed, there is a mixture of defiance and nervousness in Benghazi.

A Libyan army deadline for inhabitants to leave rebel-held locations in the opposition capital will do nothing to calm fears of an imminent bloodbath.

With hopes of a no-fly zone to protect them still unfulfilled, Libyans fleeing the advance of Gaddafi’s troops on Benghazi are leaving in growing numbers.

They are increasingly seeking refuge over the border in Egypt.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has withdrawn its aid workers from Benghazi.

Colonel Gaddafi’s forces could strike east through the desert to Tobruk. Our correspondent there, Jamal Ezzedini, predicts turbulent hours ahead for Libya, with bullets the only language between the two sides.

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