Gadhafi troops and rebel forces trade victories

03/14/11 wire reports including AP
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West of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, government tanks and artillery bombarded an opposition-held town near the Tunisian border. A resident in Zwara says at least four rebel fighters were killed in the barrage.

In the east, opposition forces have slowed the government's offensive at the oil port of Brega. While Gadhafi's troops used superior firepower to drive the rebels out of the city yesterday, they've been unable to hold it. Rebels pushed back into Brega last night and claim to have captured dozens of elite government troops. The rebels say they now control residential areas, but Gadhafi's side holds the oil facilities.

Also in the east, a resident of Ajdabiya says Gadhafi's warplanes bombed the rebel-held city, one of two major population centers between government forces and the rebel headquarters.

Some members of the opposition has been pleading with the West to impose a no-fly zone to even the fight. The Arab League has asked the U.N. to impose the flight ban.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton says the European Union is working with the Arab League to lobby the U.N. Security Council on imposing a no-fly zone in Libya.

"We are doing planning for all options but looking to the legal basis for action which is the Security Council and we're looking to the Arab League's for Saturday which has now happened and which we are able to discuss. In a sense, our eyes are now on the Security Council but, as we look at the situation in Libya we call, again, for an end to violence."

In news from other uprisings in north Africa and southwest Asia, a security official in Saudi Arabia says a military force from Gulf states has entered Bahrain to help deal with a month of political unrest in the island kingdom.

The Saudi official says the units come from a special force within the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. He did not provide information on the size of the force, but says they were deployed by air and road and will help protect key buildings.

The intervention sharply boosts the regional stakes on behalf of Bahrain's embattled Sunni rulers, who have faced growing pressures from the country's majority Shiites for sweeping political reforms.

The GCC members are Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Major protests are scheduled for tomorrow across the region, including in Gaza.

Meanwhile, British journalist Oliver Holmes says he and three other foreign reporters have been deported from Yemen after being detained for several hours.

Previous WMNF news stories on Libya

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