WRAPUP 2-Libyan rebels say counter-attack at Zlitan repelled

Wed Aug 3, 2011 2:49pm GMT

General Abdel Fattah Younes's death, apparently while in the custody of fellow rebels bringing him back from the front line for unspecified questioning, raises the question of stability in the oil-rich country, even if Gaddafi, who has vowed to fight to the death, is defeated.

In recent days, rebels have inched towards Zlitan, a town 160 km (100 miles) east of Tripoli and near rebel-held Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, pushing the frontline to the eastern outskirts. Some 34 rebels have been killed in the advance.

Video footage of Tuesday's fighting, seen by Reuters, showed rebels firing rocket-propelled grenades and heavy anti-aircraft guns at Gaddafi loyalists in eastern Zlitan.


"We allowed them to get closer to our positions before we fired heavily at them to repel their advances. Our forces have not moved back and we have kept our ground," one local commander told Reuters, asking not to be named.

Another commander said he had lost two men in the fighting but also said the pro-Gaddafi forces had been driven back.

Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Libyan government, said the rebels had been "defeated at the gates of Zlitan" and were pushed back to Dafniya, to the east.   Continued...

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