Libyan rebel forces launched a successful offensive to drive Moammar Qaddafi’s troops from the key eastern oil port of Brega on March 2. “Brega is liberated. We have forced them to 30 kilometers west,” said rebel fighter Khalid al-Aqoly. At dawn, Qaddafi’s forces, backed by tanks and heavy weaponry, had seized the airport and oil terminal in Brega, the westernmost town held by the comparatively poorly armed opposition. As the battle for Brega raged in a day of fierce fighting, Qaddafi went on television to deny there is any opposition to his 41-year rule. (Middle East Online, March 2)
Two US naval vessels headed for Libya meanwhile reached the Mediterranean after passing through the Suez Canal. The USS Ponce and the USS Kearsarge are being dispatched to provide humanitarian aid and to carry out emergency evacuations from the divided North African country, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said—adding that the vessels have on board an extra 400 Marines. The Kearsarge is also carrying 42 helicopters. (RTTNews, March 2)
See our last post on the struggle for Libya.