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      Libya: Rebels Advance Toward Brega But take Casualties

      Libyan rebels continue to advance toward Brega but lose 11 men in the process.
      By Elad Benari, Canada
      First Publish: 8/13/2011, 12:05 AM

      The fighting in Libya’s eastern front continued on Friday, but rebels lost 11 men while fighting to capture the strategic oil terminal and refinery at Brega.

      Sources at a hospital in Ajdabiyah told the Reuters news agency on Friday that about 50 people have been wounded in the last 24 hours and one civilian was killed, when a rocket fired by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s forces hit a house.

      The report noted that the rebels have taken the residential zone of New Brega, but are hoping to capture the terminal and port area which is 10 miles away.

      The rebels’ hope is that capturing the port will be a tipping point in their campaign to oust Qaddafi.

      “There’s close fighting in the oil terminal area this morning but maybe we can finish it off today,” rebel soldier Mohammad Muftah told Reuters.

      He said troops loyal to Qaddafi were holding onto the oil facilities and firing rockets at rebel positions.

      Reuters also interviewed a captured intelligence officer on Friday, who said Qaddafi is still strong and is enjoying support in Tripoli.

      Brigadier-General Al-Hadi al-Ujaili told the news agency that the rebels would face a hard fight to capture Brega.

      The fighting over Brega comes at the end of a week in which Libyan authorities accused NATO forces supporting the rebels of a “massacre” of 85 villagers in air strikes.

      The attack occurred in the village of Majar in western Libya late Monday to try to help rebels enter the government-held city.

      In response, NATO said that its air strikes were “legitimate”, adding it has no evidence to back up Tripoli’s claims that the bombs killed 85 villagers.

      United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced alarm on Thursday over the reports of civilians killed in Libya, calling “on all parties to exercise extreme caution in their actions, in order to minimize any further loss of civilian life.”

      (Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)