Libyan rebels are targeting another key prize as they close in on the capital.
Having captured Nasser City, they are now advancing on Zawiyah, just 50 kilometres from Tripoli.
While Brega is a main eastern battleground, Zawiyah is a significant target in the west. If rebels seize it, they could cut off Tripoli from access to the outside world along the coast road.
“In their dreams,” retorted Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim. He insisted Colonel Gaddafi’s troops are also holding firm at Brega.
“The rebels advanced to areas around 20 km east of Brega and our army dealt with them,” Kaim said. “Unfortunately, more than 20 rebels were killed and others hurt. I would not have wanted Libyans to die for the dreams of Sarkozy and Cameron.”
Accounts differ over who controls what.
Libyan state TV has shown an oil worker claiming that Brega’s strategically important terminal and refinery are still in government hands. But amateur video footage released on social networks purports to show a rebel fighter’s call to prayer from a mosque in the port city.