Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fight for Libya intensifies - 14 photos

The battle for Libya has intensified following the killing of rebel army commander Abdel Fattah Younes in Benghazi on July 28. Younes, a former general and minister of the interior, was close to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi before defecting to the rebel side soon after the uprising began in February. The circumstances surrounding Younes' death remain unclear and have raised questions about divided allegiances within the opposition. One day after Younes' killing, fighting broke out in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in the country's east, killing 15 fighters. Rebel leadership said they battled fighters belonging to a pro-government faction. In the country's west, opposition forces have been celebrating territorial gains after launching a fresh offensive against government troops. Forces under rebel commanders have taken the strategic towns of Ghezaia and Takhut in the past week, and say they will now march on Tripoli soon. NATO's air bombardment of Libya has also continued on sites around the country, including one on Libya state TV in Tripoli that the government claimed killed three people. Libya's enemies would be "defeated in the face of the resistance and courage of the Libyan people", said Gaddafi. However, it was a heavy sandstorm that began in Western Libya on 31 July that prevented air attacks on ground positions.

01) Members of the first batch of Libyan female volunteers who trained to take up arms, hold up their rifles during a graduation ceremony in Benghazi [Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters]

02) An archive image from March 13 shows General Abdel Fattah Younes, then commander of Libya's rebel forces, holding a press conference in Benghazi. Younes was killed on July 28 in Benghazi [Gianluigi Guercia/AFP]

03) Libyan rebel fighters shout religious slogans and carry a picture of Younes during his funeral on July 29. At his grave, Younes' son shouted: 'We want Muammar to come back! We want the green flag back', the Associated Press reported [Gianluigi Guercia/AFP]

04) A young man stands on a street light during a pro-government rally in Tripoli, July 28 [Caren Firouz/Reuters]

05) A Libyan rebel fighter plays a traditional oud instrument after rebels took control of the southwest village of Gazaia on July 28 [Alessio Romenzi/AFP]

06) Libyan rebel fighters move a tank into position at a checkpoint near the town of Nalut in western Libya on July 29 [Bob Strong/Reuters]

07) After the NATO air attack on Libya's state TV, Khaled Basila, the director, said three journalists had been killed in the bombing which he called 'an act of international terrorism' [Reuters]

08) Rebel fighters make a rocket launcher from steel pipes in a workshop in Zintan, western Libya [Colin Summers/AFP]

09) A rebel fighter takes cover during fighting with government forces in the village of Josh, at the foot of the Nafusa mountain range, western Libya [Colin Summers/AFP]

10) A girl waves a flag at a rally in support of Muammar Gaddafi in central Tripoli on July 31 [Caren Firouz/Reuters]

11) Armed Gaddafi supporters show their support during a rally in central Tripoli on July 31. After the uprising began in February, Gaddafi said that he would 'arm the people' to defeat the protesters [Caren Firouz/Reuters]

12) A trio of camels look out from behind a palm tree in the deserted town of Ghazaia in western Libya on July 31 - soon after it came under rebel control [Bob Strong/Reuters]

13) A Libyan rebel fighter brandishes his rifle as a man waves a Libyan rebel flag on top of a damaged warehouse near Benghazi after clashes with pro-Gaddafi fighters on July 31 [AFP]

14) Libyan rebels fire an anti-aircraft gun at government forces during a heavy sandstorm near the village of Tiji in western Libya on July 31 [Bob Strong/Reuters]

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