Cruise missiles being launched in the Mediterranean against the North African state of Libya. There have been over 40 people killed and many more injured by the U.S. and European military bombings., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
NATO airstrikes hit northwestern Libya
Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:6AM GMT
Several airstrikes have targeted the key strategic towns of Zawiyah and Gharyan in northwestern Libya as the NATO-led campaign against forces loyal to the 69-year-old Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi continues.
A number of powerful blasts were heard in the center of both cities in the early hours of Sunday morning, a Press TV correspondent reported.
On Saturday, Libyan rebel forces entered the coastal city of Zawiyah, which is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Tripoli.
Rebel fighters said they entered the city after a battle with forces loyal to Gaddafi that lasted several hours.
However, the Gaddafi government disputes the statements and says the rebels have not taken control of Zawiyah.
In February, Zawiyah witnessed the strongest uprising against the Gaddafi regime in western Libya.
But government forces crushed the uprising in a brutal assault that destroyed the town's main bridge.
Zawiyah is a key strategic town for both sides as it straddles the main road to the Tunisian border -- the Libyan regime's main supply line.
There is also an important oil refinery in the city.
Libya has been the scene of intense fighting between government troops and rebel forces since a counter-revolutionary attack seeking to topple Gaddafi began in mid-February.
In addition, NATO airstrikes have claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians since March.
NATO began bombing "military targets" in Libya on March 19, after the UN Security Council approved a resolution on March 17, authorizing force by whatever means necessary, with the exception of a ground invasion, to "protect civilians."
The United States, France, and Britain say they will not stop their military operation until Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi is removed from power.