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NATO Airstrike Hits Libyan Military Near Brega

VOA News April 05, 2011

NATO has carried out an airstrike against a convoy of Libyan military vehicles heading toward rebel lines near the eastern oil town of Brega.

Reports from the area say Tuesday's attack destroyed two of the vehicles, but it is unclear if any Libyan soldiers were killed.

Opposition fighters were gathered on the eastern edge of Brega early Tuesday. Rival forces have been in a standoff at the city for days. On Monday, anti-Gadhafi fighters took control of a largely residential area of Brega while loyalist troops defended positions near the city's oil infrastructure and other strategic points.

Control of Brega's refineries and port could provide the rebels with the economic boost needed to maintain their fight against Colonel Gadhafi's forces.

The rebels are expected to soon load their first oil shipment in the eastern oil port of Marsa el Hariga, near Tobruk.

Satellite ship-tracking shows that a tanker capable of carrying one million barrels of oil is likely to arrive at the port Tuesday. News reports say the shipment is likely headed to Qatar. Qatar, along with France and Italy have granted official recognition to the Libyan rebel administration, the Transitional National Council.

Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict are still underway. Libya's acting Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi held talks with senior Turkish officials on brokering a cease-fire with opposition forces. Turkey said it expects to host representatives from the rebel council in the next few days.

Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said Libya is open to political, electoral or constitutional changes, but only as long as Gadhafi leads the transition forward.

The New York Times reported earlier that at least two of the Libyan leader's sons have proposed Gadhafi relinquish power for a transition to constitutional democracy under the direction of his son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi. Rebel leaders have dismissed that idea.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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