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Libyan Government Continues To Pound Rebel Positions


A Libyan opposition fighter waves the flag of the rebellion on a desert road some 30 kilometers from the eastern town of Brega on March 31.

A Libyan opposition fighter waves the flag of the rebellion on a desert road some 30 kilometers from the eastern town of Brega on March 31.

Libyan government forces have continued their unrelenting campaign of shelling and sniper fire aimed at driving rebels from Misurata, the main city they hold in western Libya.

Reports say several civilians were killed in the latest fighting. Doctors say more than 240 people have been killed and some 1,000 injured in the city since fighting began there more than a month ago.

Meanwhile, NATO says it is investigating reports that one of its bombing raids over Libya has killed more than a dozen rebels fighting Muammar Qaddafi's forces.

Rebel fighters said more than a dozen rebels were killed on April 1 when NATO-led aircraft bombed the area between the cities of Ajdabiya and Brega in the eastern part of Libya.

NATO took over on military operations against Libya on March 31 from the impromptu coalition coordinated by the United States.

Earlier, Libya's government rejected a rebel offer for a cease-fire.

Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim scorned the offer late on April 1, saying, "If that's not crazy, I don't know what is."

The rebel leadership has said its fighters would agree to a cease-fire if Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi withdrew his forces from all of Libya's cities and respected the rights of Libyans to choose sides.

Reports say that the morale of Libya's rebels has been boosted by the appearance of more trained and armed fighters, mostly former soldiers and officers, at the rebel front lines.

On April 1, only former military officers and the lightly trained volunteers serving under them were allowed on the front lines.

Some were recent arrivals, hoping to rally against forces loyal to the Libyan leader who have pushed rebels back about 160 kilometers this week.

It is too early to say if the improvements will tip the fight in the rebels' favor.

It was also unclear where the front line was on April 1.

A day earlier, the opposition moved into Brega, about 80 kilometers east of Ajdabiya, but were again pushed out by Qaddafi's forces.

Also, a Qaddafi envoy reportedly traveled to London for secret talks on April 1 aimed at mapping out an exit strategy for the Libyan leader.

compiled from agency reports
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