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Advertisement 11 May 2011 Last updated at 17:10 GMT Share this page Email Print Share this page 251 Share Facebook Twitter Libya rebels 'capture Misrata airport' Rebels in the port city of Misrata have been besieged by pro-Gaddafi forces for several weeks Continue reading the main story Libya Crisis Backfiring tactics? Cats in the crossfire Misrata stand-off explained No easy exit for Nato Libyan rebels say they have captured Misrata airport. Hundreds of rebels were celebrating in the streets after pro-Gaddafi forces fled. witnesses said. . leaving behind tanks that were set on fire. driving back troops loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi.

.civilian or military . The broader question is whether the rebels can now hold onto both the airport. The air strikes have helped secure rebels in their strongholds in eastern Libya. and a larger swathe of territory recently captured on the western side of the city. Meanwhile.into Misrata.Government forces have been pounding the western city. and heavy fighting has been reported around the airport south of the city. but observers say it remains unclear to what extent they have loosened Col Gaddafi's grip on on the west of the country. for weeks. Col Gaddafi's forces have managed. eastern Libya Misrata's airport has been an important base for Col Gaddafi's forces and heavy weapons during the long siege of the city and the heavy bombardments that have accompanied it. Its port has become a lifeline for supplying civilians and for evacuating wounded people fleeing the fighting. A French reporter at the airport said it had been captured. Bodies in street Witnesses said Misrata airport fell after hours of fighting between rebels and proGaddafi forces overnight. It is probably too soon to consider whether the airport can be used to bring supplies . and their determination to recapture the only fully "liberated" chunk of western Libya. despite intensified Nato air raids. explosions were reported in the capital Tripoli on Wednesday. During the past few days. Continue reading the main story Analysis Andrew Harding Benghazi. which remains largely under rebel control. but that couldn't be confirmed by the rebel's chief military spokesman .000 missions over Libya since it assumed command of military operations there at the end of March. to keep hold of long-range weapons with a range of more than 30km (20 miles). rebels have been making a big push to break the siege. after Nato said its planes had carried out 6. along with a number of government tanks. The next few days should offer some insights into the resilience of pro-Gaddafi forces in the area.a fact that may underline the poor communications that have plagued Libya's fragmented revolutionaries.

A dozen rebels were said to have been wounded in the fighting. a spokesmen for the rebel leadership in Benghazi. and banned the supply of arms. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said. The EU has frozen the assets of Col Gaddafi and members of his family. and set fuel storage tanks ablaze with missile strikes. she said. ammunition and any equipment that could be used for "internal repression". "revolutionary forces" now controlled Misrata. according to rebels and human rights groups. the rebels had captured other weaponry from the regime troops. Misrata is the only significant western rebel holdout. . Aircraft attacks Following a wave of revolutions across the region. told the BBC that as well as taking the airport. prompting the resignation of many Libyan diplomats as rebel forces called on Col Gaddafi to relinquish his fivedecade rule and open Libya up to a more democratic rule. Libya's government says militants inspired by al-Qaeda are fighting with rebel forces in Misrata. Though the rebels are said to be better organised than those in eastern Libya. Authorities used aircraft to attack protesters. correspondents said. used Russianmade Grad rockets to scatter anti-vehicle mines in the port. The office will help support civil society and the interim Transitional National Council. Libya's third-largest city. As well as burning government tanks. It says it is trying to protect civilians from rebels. set up a network of makeshift arms factories. Col Ahmed Bani. Pro-Gaddafi troops in civilian areas are also using Spanish-made cluster bombs. and that doctors in the city were "trying to give a bad image of Misrata" to encourage more direct Nato intervention. their campaign is still an improvised affair.The bodies of pro-government forces could be seen lying in the street as the rebels celebrated their victory. for example. Government forces have sown anti-shipping mines off the harbour. and is strategically important because of its deep-sea port. The European bloc plans to open an office in Benghazi to improve the flow of aid for the authorities there. he said. and have. Human Rights Watch and other agencies say. Libya's uprising was sparked by February's arrest of a human rights campaigner in the eastern city of Benghazi that rapidly spread to other cities.

Baroness Ashton stressed the need for the EU to help the anti-Gaddafi rebels develop education.Addressing Euro MPs in a debate on EU foreign policy. with France and Italy recognising the TNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. More on This Story Libya Crisis Features and Analysis Backfiring tactics? The reported death of Col Gaddafi's son. Saif al-Arab. healthcare and border security. argues Shashank Joshi. in an allied air strike may backfire for Nato. Some party leaders in the parliament urged the EU to make a bigger commitment to support the pro-democracy movements in North Africa and the Middle East. Cats in the crossfire Misrata stand-off explained No easy exit for Nato .

Libya rebels hail advance 6 hrs ago The Scotsman Libya: Rebels on march in two-pronged assault 7 hrs ago Business Day Libyan rebels say they have made gains in Misrata 7 hrs ago About these results Share this page Share this page 251 Share Facebook Twitter Email Print .Analysis: A new phase? Profiles & Maps Airstrikes mapped The Gaddafi story Key figures in rebel council Family tree Guides Coalition firepower Gaddafi's bolt-hole Where do Nato countries stand? Where is al-Qaeda? How war is being funded How revolutions happen From other news sites Reuters UK Libyan rebels say airport seized. reject ceasefire 2 hrs ago Sky News Libya: Rebels 'Capture Misratah Airport' 2 hrs ago Times Live South Africa Nato bombs rock Tripoli.

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