March 2, 2011 / 2:45 PM / 9 years ago

Rebels in east Libya want U.N.-backed air strikes

BENGHAZI, Libya, March 2 (Reuters) - A rebel National Libyan Council in east Libya called for U.N.-backed air strikes on foreign mercenaries used by leader Muammar Gaddafi against his own people, a spokesman for the council said on Wednesday.

Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the council based in the rebel-held city of Benghazi, told a news conference Gaddafi was using “African mercenaries in Libyan cities” which amounted to an invasion of the oil producing North African nation.

“We call for specific attacks on strongholds of these mercenaries,” he said, but added: “The presence of any foreign forces on Libyan soil is strongly opposed. There is a big difference between this and strategic air strikes.” (Reporting by Tom Pfeiffer, Writing by Edmund Blair in Cairo)

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