N. Africa, Mideast protests: 4 killed in fighting in al-Brega, Libya
Libyan rebels in the city of Ajdibaya get ready for a fight after a government jet flies over them Wednesday.
March 2nd, 2011
03:55 PM ET

N. Africa, Mideast protests: 4 killed in fighting in al-Brega, Libya

Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our interactive map explaining the roots of the unrest in each country and full coverage of the situation in Libya. Have a story to tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport. CNN's Fareed Zakaria breaks down what the movements toward democracy mean.

Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:

[LIBYA, 3:55 p.m. ET, 10:55 p.m.]The USS Ponce and the USS Kearsarge have traversed the Suez Canal and entered the Mediterranean, a U.S. official said. The two ships have been sent with humanitarian relief equipment to aid in Libyan relief and evacuation efforts. The ships join the USS Stout, USS Barry and the USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean.

[LIBYA, 10:11 a.m. ET, 5:11 p.m.] At least four people have been killed and 23 have been wounded in the fighting Wednesday between pro-Gadhafi forces and the opposition in the town of al-Brega, a doctor who runs a hospital in the area told CNN.

[LIBYA, 9:37 a.m. ET,  4:37 p.m. local] The International Criminal Court prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is opening an investigation into the situation in Libya, the court said in a statement Wednesday.

[LIBYA, 9:09 a.m. ET, 4:09 local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi abrubtly ended a 2-hour, 20-minute speech by saying, "The American president will leave office, the European leaders will leave their offices, and Gadhafi will still be a leader."

[LIBYA, 9:03 a.m. ET, 4:03 p.m. local] Two hours into his speech, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi mentioned President Obama.

"I think Obama is quite reasonable," he said. "He is not a yankee like Bush or Clinton, he's a reasonable person. He's capable to avoid another Iraq or Afghanistan. ... (However,) if they want to challenge us, we accept the challenge. Then we will distribute arms to 2 or 3 million and we won't care about killing them. We will defend the honor of all our innocent people. ... We will enter an honorable battle."

Gadhafi said if his country's rebellion cannot be resolved peacefully, "we'll see what can be done."

[LIBYA, 8:50 a.m. ET, 3:50 p.m. local] "We cannot allow what is  happening in Benghazi to carry on," Moammar Gadhafi said. "Parents must take arms away from our children, and those who are behind them must be known. ... It's no longer a joke as they imagined it."

He said those who want to flee the country, including rebels, are free to go.

"Anyone who wants to leave, let them go. We pardon them, now allow them to leave. ... When you surround your enemy, you always allow a camp in which he can withdraw. ... The borders are open."

However, Gadhafi threatened to cut off food and water to areas where rebellion continues.

"You will have no future," he said.

[LIBYA, 8:43 a.m. ET, 3:43 p.m. local] A man stood up in the midst of Libyan leader Gadhafi's speech and shouted, "Gadhafi is not alone! Seven million Libyans surround him!"

[LIBYA, 8:32 a.m. ET, 3:32 p.m. local] Libya is a stabilizing force in the Mediterranean, leader Moammar Gadhafi said.

"If Libya is destabilized, if Libya ceases to exist, you'll see what kind of destruction will happen to the countries of the Mediterranean," he said. "Barbarism and piracy and bin Laden and jihad will come. Is that what you want?"

He also promised to be lenient with young people who have participated in anti-government demonstrations. "We will educate them," he said.

[LIBYA, 8:26 a.m. ET, 3:26 p.m. local] Libya's Moammar Gadhafi said the West should understand Libya's value apart from oil. "It's Libya who is stopping illegal immigration in the Mediterranean. It's Libya who is stopping (Osama) bin Laden in North Africa," he said.

[LIBYA, 8:02 a.m. ET, 3:02 p.m. local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi criticized and even joked about the U.N. Security Council's move to freeze Libyan assets.

"They don't have the right or the legitimacy to freeze Libyan assets," he said. "... It's looting, that's quite clear to the naked eye. ... I found it funny when they said they would attach my assets. I have no assets. I said give me some assets. Give me one million dinar. My assets are history, the people."

But he turned serious and said the Libyan people would not stand for such "piracy."

[LIBYA, 7:41 a.m. ET, 2:41 p.m. local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said impressionable young people are easily led astray by wrong ideas, especially when foreign agents give them "hallucinogenic tablets" that make them vulnerable to "poisonous ideology."

[LIBYA, 7:33 a.m. ET, 2:33 p.m. local] "Peaceful demonstrations are taking place in the streets and squares," Gadhafi said. If anyone wants to disrupt these demonstrations, "Libya will stay strong and we will get rid of these," he said.

"We will investigate the violence in Benghazi to see who was the aggressor and who was the victim. Those who were killed were members of armed gangs," he said.

Gadhafi dared the United Nations to send fact-finders to learn if there were any killings of civilians.

The U.N. Security Council went beyond its charter to interfere in domestic matters when it passed a resolution imposing sanctions on Libya, he said.

Libya allies India and Brazil voted for the resolution, Gadhafi said, because the Libyan delegate came to them and asked them to support it, "and then he fled."

"Traitor! Traitor!" audience members chanted.

[LIBYA, 7:21 a.m. ET, 2:21 p.m. local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said foreign powers are trying to steal Libya's oil.

"We will fight until the last man and woman perishes in Libya, from north to south," he declared to cheers and chants from his listeners.

[LIBYA, 7:15 a.m. ET, 2:15 p.m. local] Gadhafi said police stations have been attacked, and the police "of course" have fought back. He compared the situation to the FBI's 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian sect compound in Waco, Texas, and to Palestinian reprisal attacks on Israel.

[LIBYA, 7:12 a.m. ET, 2:12 p.m. local] Gadhafi gave his version of how the current conflict in his country started, saying a foreign "sleeping tiger cell" in the eastern city of Benghazi rose up against the people and took up arms. The people responded and put down the uprising, he said.

He denied that there had been any public demonstrations against him or any other incidents.

"It's 100% lies. No demonstration in Benghazi in any way."

He also denied that any civilians had been fired on by the military.

Reports on foreign satellite channels were false, he said. "There were no correspondents in Libya," he said.

Gadhafi also denied that there are any political prisoners in Libya.

[LIBYA, 7:03 a.m. ET, 2:03 p.m. local] "I was surprised by the demonstrations sweeping the country carrying placards and posters," Gadhafi said. "And I said, 'Is someone complaining about me?' 'There is a challenge,' they said. 'Where is it coming from?' I asked them. 'From abroad,' they said."

His talk was interrupted by chants of: "Muhammad and Libya, and that's it."

"Gadhafi has no authority which he can relinquish," he said when the chanting died down. "It's foreign stations that are behind it. It's coming from abroad."

[LIBYA, 6:56 a.m. ET, 1:56 p.m. local] "Power is to the people and there is no other power," Gadhafi said.

"There is no place for a king or a president or a mediator in the Jamahiriya system. No law is made without the approval of the people's conferences. ... I was the leader of a revolution in 1969, and I then retired to my tent. ... I do not practice any authority. I encourage the people to take power. The Libyan people, I say over and over again, is free to practice power."

[LIBYA, 6:50 a.m. ET, 1:50 p.m. local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi spoke on the anniversary of the 1977 law establishing Libya's "people power" political system. He said he and three other military officers led a revolution in 1969 and then handed power over to the people, adding that he holds no position of authority in the government.

"Since that time we did not assume any power, and we threw away the forces of the American and the British and we liberated the Libyan soil and its wealth from colonial powers and handed it to the Libyan people," Gadhafi said.

[LIBYA, 5:14 a.m. ET, 12:14 p.m. local] Opposition members have taken back the eastern Libyan town of al-Brega, a resident told CNN. Armed forces supporting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had moved into the town earlier Wednesday. The resident said there were fatalities in the fight, but the number is unclear.

Al-Brega is home to a small airport and an oil refinery facility.

[IRAQ, 4:31 a.m. ET, 12:31 p.m. local] Five roadside bombs exploded in four Baghdad neighborhoods Wednesday morning, killing a civilian and wounded 19 others, including five Iraqi soldiers, the interior ministry said.

[LIBYA, 3:29 a.m. ET, 10:39 a.m. local]
Military camps on the outskirts of Ajdabiya were being bombed by military airplanes Wednesday morning, a tribal leader said. The youth of Ajdabiya were amassing and heading toward the conflict area to defend the city.

The tribal leader also said the town of al-Brega - about 80 kilometers to the west - was taken Wednesday morning by forces supporting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The town is home to a small airport and an oil refinery facility.

Both towns had been in opposition control in recent days.

[LIBYA, 2:35 a.m. ET, 9:35 a.m. local]
A series of explosions Wednesday morning in the Libyan capital of Tripoli were caused by an overturned fuel truck with four fuel compartments, witnesses said.

[LIBYA, 2:10 a.m. ET, 9:10 a.m. local] Four large explosions were heard Wednesday morning in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, with flames visible in at least one location.

"They were about five to 10 seconds apart," said CNN's Nic Roberston, who said the explosions took place in central Tripoli. "You can hear sirens rushing into the area."

The cause of the explosions was not immediately known. Government officials were not allowing journalists to get close to the scene.

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Filed under: Africa • Algeria • Bahrain • Egypt • Libya • Tunisia • World • Yemen
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. suzi

    DAMN!! They cant have anything go their way.... I hope not many people were hurt/
    killed. Ugly situation.

    March 2, 2011 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Suzi.......it has only began......many more will die. Gadaffi is a NUTT....and his chemical imbalance runs deep in his blood line. Most of the older Libyans no nothing but war and fighting....it's only the young....less than 30 who will stop the cycle however, MANY of them will die first.....it's a proven fact that many if no ALL of the middle eastern countries no not how to solve problems without blood shed.

      March 2, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • runjackrun

      I think Gadaffi is on the same drug Charlie Sheen is on. I don't want our military to get involved because if we bomb the hell out of him then we'll spend American money to refuild their infracture. I think we have this little "Agency" who works behind the scenes. Maybe they are sizing things up to make sure Gadaffi doesn't fall off a balcony and break his neck.

      March 2, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      We should help the people there fight against him...not jump in and do it ourselves...its not our battle or war...but we can support the democratic side of it.

      March 2, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. Omwabo

    There is too much suffering of the little children : I only wish the world leaders will come together and do something about Libya: Let us help the suffering

    March 2, 2011 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      There are organizations that do that sort of thing. Red cross, red crescent, doctors without borders. That's the few i know. Anyone got others? There's so much charity in this country, we don't *really* need welfare in the US. No way it's the government's job to take care of Libyans.

      March 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dr.M.Delényi

    I am wondering,when some major powers(US,UK,France and Italy!) would begin to deliver food and weapons to Benghazi,what would be logical and also in their political interests as well as their moral obligation.

    March 2, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      France has been delivering food and medical supplies, as well as doctors and other medical professionals.

      March 2, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      The French get alot of bad press. They're alot closer and everything. Now we don't have to worry about it.

      March 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. devilmaycry

    Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottown is leaving for Libya today as published in local newspapers.

    March 2, 2011 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • BEEGEE

      That's great...the ship is filled with Back Bacon & Beer to feed the real contributors from other countries. Sending 1 ship into this crisis is like dropping 1 minnow into the Great Lakes.

      March 2, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike in Memphis

    I hope the U.S. stays out of this (militarily) as the Libyan people (and the country's defecting military forces) rise up against and overthrow this dictator. The best thing the U.S. can do is to provide shelter, food, and medicine for the 150,000+ refugees that have fled Libta–and then to offer to assist the new government (because it is coming) once Gadhafi is ousted/killed by his own people. Let the rebels fight (because it is their fight and they will win it): let the rebel's families find food, shelter, and safety in US-backed refugee camps across the border.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      The best thing the US can do is STAY OUT OF IT! Christ, how many times we gotta get involved and end up never ending up, losing Americans, picking up the check. You worry about the economy then say how we need to shelter and feed 150k plus?? SO FAR?! Yes, it's tragic. This one does not need to be OUR tragedy.

      March 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    This Mohammar Qadaffi is barking up the wrong tree as far as Al Qaeda is concerned. Al Qaeda is in no position to cause unrest anywhere as it has all it can do just to survive. The only outside forces capable of causing unrest in Libya are those of the West as they have agents everywhere around the world.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Xin in Bangkok

      I do agree you!!!! They do want this world like this.

      March 2, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Cesar....don't believe that Al Qaeda is down and out......they were in operation WAY, WAY before the US Government would have you believe.

      March 2, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. Xin in Bangkok

    Look this world!!! So many country people start to fight each other, no peace any more! The freedom means blooding, war and death???? I do not understand. I think many people like the peace, but who start to make the war around this world? They are trying to detroy this world.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Its not WHO starts the war....it's WHAT.....the WHAT is MONEY!

      March 2, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Freedom does not mean blood, war, and death. That's tyranny. That's why there's blood, war, and death. Little kings being unwilling to let the people grow. He kills me. 'The people rule libya. But obviously i'm the only one who can live in this house. I keep away al qaida and the Americans so the people can keep laboring for me. I need more Snuggies. I need lots of stuff. No one else can provide this for the Libyans.' just wait, Libyans. Freedom, and Peace, are so cool.

      March 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    @Fake Cesar of 8:14: blagh blagh blagh blagh blagh blagh:

    March 2, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kevin

    This translator SUCKS! Surely Gadaffi isn't making all those sounds and NOT saying anything......Jesus....he speaks for 30 seconds and says 2 words.....come the hell on......honestly the CNN story is useless, you can't make heads or tails out of anything the translator is saying......broken sentence after broken sentence.....I'd rather be stabbed in the eye with a fork than listen to it..........good lord............CNN.....Hire a new translator..

    March 2, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kentlose

    Gadhafi is holding Libyans as hostages. What can the U.N. do when it's manifestingly obvious that a leader has become mentally impaired and there's no rule of succession?

    March 2, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Um... It's the people's job to kick out governments they don't want, not the UN's. Our declaration of independence covered that.

      March 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    Odd how Kadaffi and Mubarak have been accepting bribes for decades with very few complaints and even fewer news stories. And still I hear very few complaints about the one's who have been bribing them...for decades now. It's as if we are cheering the people on as they revolt against their bribe-taking leaders, pretending our leaders had nothing to do with it.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      I can't believe the credit you people give these nuts or even our own government. Conspiracy theories ALWAYS require someone really smart doing something. Embrace the horror. It really is as simple as it looks.

      March 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    @Kevin...I find it hard to believe that 'money' is what causes wars. Is the one who prints the money impressed by it? Wars are more about geography than they are about truth, freedom, religion, or money. If a nation sits atop huge natural resources, that nations leader is bribed into allowing those resources to be plundered by foreigners, while the peoples starve. When the people rise-up and rebel, we cheer them on pretending Halliburton etc. never bribed these leaders. (especially if we have stock in Halliburton, etc.)

    March 2, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Free Lybia

    Quackdaffi is the Wacko of Waco.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. jason

    Our opinions mean nothing. we're told only what the people in charge want to tell us. and the governments are gonna do what they want, whether we agree or not.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. steve

    By the time the US is done regurgitating optiions, the conflict will be over.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
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