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Sunday, April 20, 2014  

Libya rebels inch closer to Tripoli
GUALISH/DAFNIYA Libyan rebels said they were preparing on Saturday to push forward in their drive on Tripoli from the south and west in a bid to isolate Muammar Gaddafi in the ever-closer capital.

The rebel fighters in Dafniya braced for further attacks from Gaddafi forces after the Libyan leader staged a show of support at home and threatened to strike his enemies abroad.  

Rebels in Misrata said the death toll in the western town, a longtime insurgent stronghold, had risen to seven from six, with at least 17 wounded, after a heavy attack by Gaddafi artillery the day before.  

A rebel spokesman in the town on the Mediterranean coast, who gave his name as Youssef, said, “The situation is calm today in Misrata. Yesterday seven rebels were killed. We expect fighting this evening.”  

After heavy fighting, rebel fighters captured the desert hamlet of Gualish on Wednesday, taking them closer to the strategic garrison town Gharyan and the last major objective standing between them and Tripoli to the north.

For now, they have set their sights on Asablah, 17km north of Gualish on the road to Gharyan.

“Three times we tried to take Gualish before we succeeded,” said rebel fighter. “That was the hardest part. Now it’s going to be easier.”

One of his comrades, 28-year-old Talal Ahmed, explained. “We have plenty of rebels inside Asablah. Nato bombed there heavily on Friday and that stresses the (Gaddafi) soldiers and makes them more unsteady. “We are just waiting for the go-ahead from Nato,” he added.

Around 2,000 Chadian migrants, mostly women and children, trapped in the southern desert towns of Sabha and Gatroun are being flown back to their homeland, the International Organisation for Migration said on Saturday.

The migrants had been trying to get to Chad overland, he added, but were stopped by clashes between warring factions.

Agencies

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