May 7, 2011 / 9:01 PM / 9 years ago

Gaddafi forces attack remote oil town-rebels

BENGHAZI, Libya, May 7 (Reuters) - Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi attacked the remote eastern oil town of Jalu in the Libyan desert on Saturday, but the town remains in rebel hands, a rebel spokesman said.

The town, south of the eastern frontline near Adjdabiyah, has been attacked by Gaddafi forces more than once since the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule began in mid-February.

With fighting on the eastern frontline stalled along the coast, rebels have said they suspect Gaddafi’s forces are trying to hem in the rebel-held east by moving south through the desert all the way up to Tobruk near the Egyptian border.

“From time to time, he has attacked using armoured vehicles and today he repeated the same thing and attacked Jalu,” the rebel National Council spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga told a news conference.

“But he can never keep forces there because these oases are liberated...Jalu remains defiant.”

Gaddafi forces in the past have also attacked the nearby town of Awjilah, rebels say. Both are near major oilfields held by rebels. Fighting has also broken out in the past in Kufra, a remote desert town in southeastern Libya. (Reporting by Deepa Babington in Benghazi)

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