Libyan Rebels Say They're Receiving Weapons From Abroad
The New York Times reports:
The rebel military leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah Younes, said Saturday in an interview with Al Arabiya, a satellite news channel, that his forces had received weapons supplies from unidentified nations that supported their uprising.
A spokesman for the rebels’ National Transitional Council, Mustafa Gheriani, confirmed General Younes’s statement but also refused to provide details.
Asked whether any arms shipments had arrived yet, a spokesman for the rebel military, Col. Ahmed Bani, smiled broadly, but then insisted, “I didn’t quite confirm it.”
Gheriani hinted at the opening of military training centers when he winked twice after noting that the opposition had opened "professional training centers."
“We have a lot of people being trained, real professional training, that we don’t talk to the world about,” he said.
This training is supplementary to a Libyan-operated training camp for rebel volunteers to receive basic training outside of Aidabiya.
The Emir of Qatar told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the country would arm opposition forces to help them fend off Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.
"If they will ask for weapons, we are going to provide them," said Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
When Blitzer pressed him on if French-made anti-tank weapons had already reached the rebels, al-Thani said, "It's possible."
Qatar, Italy and France have all recognized anti-Gaddafi forces as Libya's government.
"In a meeting with allies in Qatar last week, Italy also said arms shipments would be justified, but stopped short of confirming they would be sent. The possible arms shipments come as Gaddafi's forces continue their siege of Misrata, using ground-to-ground rockets and cluster bombs that have been banned by much of the world," the Daily Beast reports.
Violence continued Saturday and Sunday in Libya where Gaddafi forces remain strong.
Voice of America reports:
Witnesses say Gadhafi forces fired long-range rockets into the Libyan town of Ajdabiya, causing many rebels to flee their positions. Al-Jazeera TV reported that the ongoing rocket assaults allowed Gadhafi’s men to advance towards the outskirts of the town.
Reuters news agency indicated that scores of rebel vehicles were fleeing Ajdabiya, along with large numbers of civilians, towards the main rebel-held city of Benghazi.
The sustained rocket attacks appear to have caused a reverse of momentum after rebel forces tried to move Saturday on the Gadhafi-held town of Brega. An opposition said Gadhafi’s men were hiding in a chemical factory in Brega, which NATO planes were reluctant to bomb.
Saturday, rebel military commander and former Gadhafi interior minister Abdel Fattah Younes told al-Arabiya television his men were closing in on Brega and were hoping to take the town within 24 hours.
In the besieged western port city of Misrata, witnesses say Gadhafi loyalists continued to pound the city with mortar shells. The city has been without water and electricity for days and thousands of people have abandoned their houses for safer areas around the port.
Meantime, rebel forces appear to be questioning the work of NATO.
Speaking with CNN, a rebel spokesman said, "We still need NATO's assistance, but we don't understand what they are up to."
Reports surfaced Sunday that the U.S. and other allies are seeking a place--likely to be Africa--that might provide shelter for Gaddafi if he is forced out of Libya.