AJDABIYAH, Libya, (Reuters) – Rebels on the eastern front of Libya’s civil war lost 11 men in the past 24 hours fighting to capture the strategic oil terminal and refinery at Brega on the Mediterranean coast, hospital sources said.
Sources at a hospital in Ajdabiyah to the northeast said about 50 were wounded on Thursday and yesterday and one civilian in the almost deserted town was killed when a rocket fired by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces hit a house.
The rebels have taken the residential zone of New Brega. But that is 15 km (10 miles) from the terminal and port area.
They hope that capturing the port 750 km east of the capital Tripoli will be a tipping point in their nearly six-month campaign to oust Gaddafi. They want to begin exporting oil from Brega as quickly as possible.
But the battle for it has been going on for months.
“There’s close fighting in the oil terminal area this morning but maybe we can finish it off today,” rebel soldier Mohammad Muftah said.
Troops loyal to Gaddafi were holding onto the oil facilities, firing rockets at rebel positions.