Rebel fighters regroup around Ajdabiya

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Rebel fighters regroup around Ajdabiya

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A group of heavily-armed rebel fighters has gathered on the outskirts of Ajdabiya. They say they are ready to retake the city, which is currently held by the forces of Muammar Gaddafi.

International forces bombarded Libya for the third night in a row on Monday. But the rebels they are trying to help are struggling to organise themselves and capitalise on the disarray caused by air strikes.

Read: who is providing what to the military operation

In their latest offensive, forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have targeted two towns. Locals say forty people have died as a result of shelling on Misrata.

In Benghazi last night, panicked rebel fighters took to the streets when they heard loud explosions. But it turned out to be coalition aircraft striking targets around the city.

Read: Libya: a timeline of international diplomacy

The head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, who supported the UN-mandated intervention, criticised its severity saying the air attacks had killed many civilians. Russia’s defence minister has also condemned civilian deaths but his US counterpart has said the coalition is going to great lengths to avoid killing non-combatants. Robert Gates said most Libyan targets are air defences that are not situated near populated areas.

Gates said many people in Russian appear to believe what he called Gaddafi’s “lies” about the number of civilian deaths in the coalition’s air strikes. Libyan authorities claim the bombardments have killed dozens of civilians.