Rebels battle Gaddafi’s forces over east Libya town

NEAR BREGA, Libya (Reuters) – Rebels massed outside Brega on Thursday and said their forces were still fighting Muammar Gaddafi’s troops for control of the east Libya oil town.

Rebels beat a rapid retreat along the coast road on Wednesday under rocket fire from Gaddafi’s forces, ceding swathes of territory they had retaken days earlier. Some rebels had fallen back as far as Ajdabiyah, the gateway to the east.

Rebels on Thursday still controlled Ajdabiyah, about 140 km (90 miles) south of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, a Reuters correspondent said.

“There were clashes with Gaddafi’s forces around Brega at dawn,” said rebel fighter Rabia Ezela, waiting about 10 km (6 miles) outside Brega where scores of pick-ups mounted with machineguns and other vehicles had massed.

“God willing there will be more air strikes today, but we will advance no matter what,” said Muneim Mustafa, another fighter with an AK-47 rifle slung over his shoulder.

(Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz; Writing by Edmund Blair in Cairo)

Rebels battle Gaddafi’s forces over east Libya town