Libyan rebels launch attack on frontier town Al-Ghazaya

ZINTAN, Libya, July 28, 2011 (AFP) - Rebels have launched an attack on Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's forces in the town of Al-Ghazaya near the Tunisian border, military and hospital sources said on Thursday.

"Rebels launched an offensive on Al-Ghazaya on Wednesday," a military source told an AFP correspondent in Zintan, in the Nalut region. Other military and medical sources also reported the offensive.

Kadhafi's forces hold Ghazaya and use it as a base to bombard the rebel-held town of Nalut and rebels in the frontier region. Ghazaya lies about 12 kilometres (nine miles) from the Tunisian border.

For the past few days, Kadhafi forces have intensified their firing of Grad rockets against the rebels in Nalut, some 230 kilometres (140 miles) west of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The mountainous Nafusa region has seen some of the fiercest fighting between loyalist troops and rebel forces, who are using the Nafusa mountains as a springboard for their advance on Tripoli to overthrow Kadhafi's regime.

The two sides have fought their way into a stalemate five months after the start of a popular uprising that quickly turned into a civil war.

The Libyan leader is in control of much of the west and his Tripoli stronghold, while the opposition holds the east from their bastion in Benghazi.

Backing the rebels, NATO has maintained dozens of daily air raids against Kadhafi's troops, taking out military hardware such as tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers.

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