Libya Alhurra Updates

Posts tagged Brega

Jun 26

NATO ‘unaware’ of civilian deaths after Brega attack

June 25, 2011 - France24:

REUTERS - NATO missiles have hit a site in Libya used by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces to stockpile military supplies and vehicles, the alliance said on Saturday, adding it was unaware of 15 civilian deaths reported by state media.

The attack late on Friday was the second within hours on what NATO said were clearly identified military targets in the coastal city of Brega, around 200 km (130 miles) west of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Libyan state television said a local bakery and a restaurant had been hit, wounding 20 people in addition to the 15 dead. State news agency Jana said a strike in the same area earlier on Friday had killed five civilians.

"We have no indications of any civilian casualties in connection to these strikes," a NATO official said.

"What we know is that the buildings we hit were occupied and used by pro-Gaddafi forces to direct attacks against civilians around Ajdabiya," the official said of a nearby rebel-held town.

"Unlike the pro-Gaddafi forces, we go to great lengths to reduce the possibility of any civilian casualties."

Separately, a Reuters correspondent in the capital Tripoli heard a total of four loud explosions as jets flew overhead on two occasions on Saturday. The blasts appeared to come from the eastern suburb of Tajura. Several other explosions shook the city late on Friday.

(Read More)


Apr 17

Younis questions NATO

Al Jazeera Arabic conducted a telephone interview with General Younis of the interim council in Benghazi. Yunus said that “the story has become refined, we are at the mercy of Gaddafi and NATO at the same time.”

The google translation of the video description includes:

He complained of very slow Major General of NATO in responding to the demands of the rebel forces bombarded the attacking battalions, and threatened to turn the National Transitional Council - the representative of the rebels - to the Security Council to stop the work of NATO in the event of the continuation of the situation for what it is.

This portion of the interview does not appear to be included in the audio of the video. One of Libya Al Hurra’s volunteers, ShyBrownEyes, has a translation of the audio portion:

April 17, 2011
Abd Al Fattah, a week ago you were not happy with NATO. what do you think now?

 We are under G and NATO’s mercy at the same time. today, we conveyed instructions to NATO, our forces enetered area of Brega, then NATO told us that we attacked Brega, noone is there, so we moved on to Brega then we were attacked, we don’t know why. the day before yesterday, we thanked them, and told them we are happy to work with them then today, we were shocked by these actions. we have contacted them, all of them at all levels, to no avail. we have requested that they give us planes, to allow us to protect our land. if we only found collaboration, in this war, until we succeed. but nothing. This area produces oil, we only want them to provide us like they provided G. I asked in person, the day before yesterday. but nothing. no response. we only want fairness

Regarding Misrata, I was there a few hours ago, I conveyed to them, that Misrata needs help. all we need are 6 planes. we can even buy them. this is a rich country. they have not responded. this oil is ours, but this oil will be theirs. we need, them to allow us to protect our people.


Apr 8

8 pm update

EU sources: Humanitarian mission in Misurata, Libya imminent

Apr 8, 2011, 17:31 GMT

Brussels - The European Union is preparing to launch a humanitarian military mission to the under-siege Libyan city of Misurata within days, sources in the bloc said Friday.


Ben Wedeman from CNN reports from Ajdabiya :

No, for those who are curious, didn’t see or hear any planes, NATO or otherwise, in the Ajdabia are today, Friday. #libya
about 1 hour ago
 
Western gate of ajdabia comes under heavy Libyan army artillery bombardment this afternoon. Ajdabia a ghost town. Most defenders have fled.
about 1 hour ago


Operation Unified Protector (was Odyssey Dawn) explained (Day 20)

Even if the explaination that the rebel tanks were moving in different directions and were difficult to distinguish who was operating them, what’s really weird is that Rear Admiral Russell Harding, deputy commander of NATO’s ops in Libya affirmed that until yesterday, in spite of the pictures available on the internet, the alliance didn’t know that the rebels were operating tanks. According to the rebels, they are operating some 400 tanks and NATO was informed that they were moving T55 and T72 heavy tanks from Benghazi to Brega.


Heavy clashes in Libya’s rebel-held Misrata

MISRATA, Libya (AP) — Anti-government fighters battled forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in fierce clashes Friday in the only major rebel-held city in western Libya as international relief efforts were stepped up for civilians caught in the crossfire.


Last night’s annoucement
from Jeff Warren and others concerning air strikes on Sirte, Misrata and Brega remain largely unconfirmed today.


NATO acknowledges strike on rebels

NATO apologizes for strike on Libyan rebels

NATO has offered apologies for an erroneous airstrike on Libyan rebels. According to the Reuters news agency, the command of the Operation Odyssey Dawn has admitted that aircraft of the alliance have attacked a convoy of the opposition.

On Thursday, NATO pilots took the rebels’ tanks and artillery in the area of Marsa El Brega for Muammar Gaddafi armour.


Ben Wedeman
from CNN :

24 hours after airstrike outside Brega, NATO finally admits it did it, didn’t know opposition had tanks. Opposition says they told NATO.
http://twitter.com/bencnn/status/56275580387213312


An earlier report from Al Jazeera at 10:21am however suggests there hasn’t been an official apology from NATO:

NATO’s deputy commander of Libya operations describes the alliance’s strategy in Libya as coherent and says the alliance continues to target “those who harm civilians”.

Regarding the two air strikes outside Brega which appear to have killed four opposition fighters, he says that before yesterday, the alliance had no information that the opposition was using tanks. He says the situation on the ground was “very fluid” and that he is “not apologising” for the strikes.

Reports of NATO air strikes on Sirte, Ras Lanouf, Misrata

Reports of air strikes on Misrata and Ras Lanou (via http://www.libyafeb17.com/) :

00:19 Misratah News Group on Facebook have reported that NATO fighter jets are flying over the city right now

00:12 Al Arabiya NATO fighter jets have just bombed Gaddafi’s forces between Brega and Ras Lanouf

More info from Jeff Warren on Twitter:

source:vast majority of strike sorties being flown by French

Sirte attack being led by French Mirage fighters

FLASH:NATO jets now pounding Sirte and Misrata. Attack helicopters now aiding fight for the first time in conflict

CONFIRMED;NATO jets engaging troop columns in Ras Lanouf. French and English flying sorties

Confirmations and developments will follow.


Where’s the front?

The fog of war descends today. Several conflicting reports on where the front is. Part of the problem is things are very fluid and can change quickly. An excellent resource to check when faced with such situations is Wikipedia.

  7 April

During the night, the rebels brought up 20 tanks to the frontline east of Brega. However, in the morning, what appeared to be NATO air-strikes, hit rebel positions and destroyed three of them and also killed 13 rebels and wounded 16. Following the air-strikes, government troops started an artillery attack on the rebels. This led to another retreat away from Brega.[43][44]

Later during the day, rebels speculated that the air-strikes may have come from one of Gaddaffi’s fighter jets small enough to not be picked up on radar.[45] The National Transitional Council stated they believe that the cause of the attack was due to Gaddafi’s plane’s evading the no-fly zone. Following the attacks, loyalists chased the rebels to Ajdabiya, and both civilians and rebels were on the verge of retreating from the city.[46]

Wikipedia, like the front, is subject to rapid changes during current events, so don’t trust this snapshot from about 1am Thursday in Libya. go the The Third Battle of Brega page for the latest.

More in depth reporting comes from C.J. Chivers, author of The Gun, senior reporter for the New York Times, and former Marine Corps Infantry officer, his military knowledge combined with acute observational skills and eyewitness accounts from the front have become invaluable. His latest report was filed in the afternoon, so it may be outdated now, but gives some details…

The rebels have lacked armor in recent weeks, but have been hinting for several days that soon they would unveil a surprise at the front. Survivors of the attack said their convoy included equipment confiscated from Colonel Qaddafi’s military that in recent weeks had been refurbished and made road-worthy. They said it was being brought forward for a fresh attack against the oil town of Brega, which fell to the loyalists this week.

The convoy, however, was attacked just short of the front lines.

The convoy included armored vehicles, cargo trucks, buses and tanks, was at least 30 miles southwest of Ajdabiya and had stopped on the side of the road, said Alsounese Fazan, who was driving a jeep with the convoy.

Confusion abounds regarding this attack. some claim NATO. some say Gadaffi forces were flying a plane. some think it was just artillery or mortar fire…

Mr. Fazan, who was being treated for minor injuries at the Al Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, said the rebels heard the sound of what they thought were NATO aircraft in the morning. “We shouted ‘God is great,’ and after that we heard nothing. And then they bombed us.” He said that he saw four separate explosions, one of which was about 100 yards away.

There were several attacks, he said, occurring at roughly 10 minute intervals.

Another wounded fighter, Amin Jaman, 32, said that all of the vehicles in the convoy were flying the bright, tricolor Libyan rebel flag. He said that he was standing on top of a stationary tank, and never heard the sound of an airplane when the first ordnance exploded nearby.

…It was not immediately clear whether that blast came from an airstrike or an unrelated attack. At times during the past week, fire from the Qaddafi forces have reached the area where the ambulance was struck.

It will probably take some time before the incident is understood fully. Meanwhile…

Rebel fighters said that later in the afternoon, a half a dozen rockets or other munitions exploded at the western edge of the city. The explosions caused a mass panic, as civilians and rebels, including some with heavy weapons, briefly packed the highway north to Benghazi. There were conflicting reports about whether the rebels maintained a presence in Ajdabiya: some fighters said a small contingent had been left behind to defend the city, but that could not be independently confirmed.

By around 2 p.m., the Qaddafi forces had advanced close enough to Ajdabiya to send rockets into the city near the west gate, the soldiers said, apparently touching off panic among the civilians there.

CJ Chivers also has a Twitter Feed where he promises:

many rebs fled w/ weapons. some say all fled. others say some stayed to fight. will head out @ daylight 2 check.

Al Jazeera Arabic is reporting Adjabiya remains in “Forces of Free Libya” hands although most civilians have fled.  We may simply have to wait until daylight for a better picture, both on where the front is, and on who struck the FFL and by what means.

In the meantime, do check out Chivers’ detailed and realistic assessment of the FFL.

These men are a Libyan melting pot, a cross-section of professions and backgrounds. Businessmen and engineers fight beside students and laborers.

A few are Libyans from abroad who hurried home in February or March, answering an urge to topple Qaddafi and remake Libya on less autocratic lines.

They lack structure and they know it. Each contingent fights largely according to its own whim. Sometimes no one knows who is in charge.

Please do check out Mr. Chivers’ various reports in their entirety. We are lucky to have an ex military officer reporting from the front.