Fierce battle near Ajdabiya, US 'seeks refuge' for Gaddafi

The western edge of Ajdabiya, the gateway to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, came under fire from a barrage of rockets fired by Libyan troops, forcing hundreds of residents and some rebel fighters to flee the key crossroads town.

Libyan rebels had earlier advanced from Ajdabiya toward Brega in the country’s east. However, they were outflanked by the government troops who avoided the main body of fighting in order to attack from Ajdabiya's south, Al Jazeera news channel said.
Reports said the anti-Gaddafi fighters' advance on Brega have been overturned as government forces opened second front and attacked Ajdabiya.

The government troops remain consolidated within the city centre, said rebel fighters returning to Ajdabiya.

"We have people on the edge of Brega, we control that area only," said Mohammed el-Misrati. "Nothing has changed inside Brega," he said.

The battle to control the territory in eastern frontline left eight anti-Gaddafi fighters dead and 16 wounded yesterday, the pan-Arab channel said.

The rebels blamed the western alliance for failing to give them enough support.
"Where are the NATO forces?" asked Absalam Hamid, who identified himself as a rebel captain. "We don’t know why they didn’t bomb them," he was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

In Misurata, Libya's third largest city, at least six people were killed today and 47 others injured in artillery fire.

For the fourth day in a row, troops loyal to Gaddafi shelled Misurata, which has been besieged for seven weeks and now is faced with sever food shortages. Hundreds of civilians are believed to have died in fighting and bombing in the city over the last several weeks.

Earlier, the rebels said they had reached the edges of Brega, 80-km west of Ajdabiya. Many fled the attack as loud explosions boomed across the town.Al Jazeera said a sandstorm had made it difficult for NATO to target forces loyal to Gaddafi.

Amid the stalemate in the civil war, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said the terms of the UN resolution on Libya are a "restriction" on NATO which is enforcing a no-fly zone in a bid to protect civilians from Libyan forces.

"We're not occupying, we're not invading, that's not what we're about. And that is obviously a restriction on us, but I think it is the right restriction," he said while speaking on Sky News.

"It's because we've said we're not going to invade, we're not going to occupy, this is more difficult in many ways, because we can't fully determine the outcome with what we have available," Cameron underlined.

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