Libyan rebels claim control of Brega

15:07, July 19, 2011      

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Musa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Libyan government, talks to the media during a press conference in Tripoli, Libya, July 18, 2011. Ibrahim denied the insurgents access to the eastern oil town of Brega, and also said that it was controlled by the Libyan army. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

Libyan rebels said that they retook the eastern oil town of Brega, pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV reported Monday.

The rebel fighters encircled Brega, but its streets were littered with landmines, making it hard to secure full control of the area, said the rebel spokesman Shamisddin Abdulmolah.

The government forces retreated to Ras Lanuf to the west, he added.

Libyan officials in Tripoli have made no comment on any fighting in Brega.

The Libyan rebels' victory in the oil port city came days after dozens of countries, part of the Libya Contact Group, announced that they recognized the Libyan rebels' council as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

Brega, nestled at the southeastern tip of the Gulf of Sierte has changed hands multiple times during Libya's unrest, which soon enters its fifth month.

Brega's vast oil refinery and storage facilities, if intact, could provide fuel and a much-needed income stream for the rebels.

Tripoli and some western provinces remain under Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's control while the rebels hold Benghazi, most of the east and several western cities.

Source: Xinhua
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