AJDABIYAH, Libya, March 15 (Reuters) - Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched a heavy bombardment of a rebel checkpoint on the edge of the eastern town of Ajdabiyah on Tuesday and on a nearby arms dump, witnesses reported.
Witnesses in one car that had travelled to Ajdabiyah from Brega, an oil town that rebels have been fighting to retain, said Gaddafi’s tanks and missile trucks were now about 40 km (25 miles) away from Ajdabiyah.
The witnesses in the car also said planes had launched air strikes and reported seeing three cars burned out on the road. They said they saw dead bodies inside. Al Jazeera television had earlier reported civilian cars being hit on the same road.
“They are bombing the arms dump with land-based weapons. It is really heavy bombing, can’t you hear it? If they hit the arms cache it will destroy Ajdabiyah,” said civilian rebel supporter Ashraf Abdel Malik.
Reuters correspondent Mohammed Abbas saw a heavy bombardment near the western gate to Ajdabiyah and towards the arms dump near the town. He saw blasts sending up clouds of sand and smoke. (Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Writing by Edmund Blair in Cairo)