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. Mark

    Is it me or does Gadaffi look like some jazz musician from the Blue Note days?

    March 2, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. karek40

    Gadaffi is a dictator (not a nut). He wants to maintain his position and chooses to believe he is admired by his people, most kings and dictators do the same (whether they are or not). They are in a civil war and he is not gone and may not be gone. President Obama (for the first time) is doing the smart thing, staying out of this.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dott

    We need to keep our nose out of other countries business. We have our own problems. When are we ever going to learn that we can't police the world? I have a problem sending my sons or daughters to fight for another countries freedoms. That is not what they signed on for. Close our borders and stop those illegals swarming across the border and stop the influx of immigrants that we must house, feed and take care of. The USA is fast losing ground in being soverign nation. The only nation on the big ball in the sky that takes care of others before it's own.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Marcia

      I'm not agreeing or dis agreeing with you, but you seem to miss one thing. How could you be tired of sending your sons and daughters to fight. It's their choice. Anyone that joins the military takes an oath and is aware of the possibilites of being activated. If you don't want to be called up then get the heck out of the military.

      March 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BruceBanner

    @mark: Gadhafi looks like that one jazz playing muppet you're right.
    @phil: Everyone knows our government sends money all over the world to buy favorable results from leaders. You only mention Haliburton which is an obvious jab at Cheney, but you leave out the fact that we pay off banana republics known for their narcotic production or other dictators whom have nothing to do with Haliburton or Cheney.
    @runjackrun: Carpet bombing is an antiquated idea that might have applications in World War 2, but we don't need to do that anymore. We could track these murderers and drop just one bomb to achieve the desired result. Even a psychopath values his/her life more than money.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    All I know is that this is getting ridiculous, Obama needs to stand up for what is right in this world, and all Americans need to support a NATO no-fly zone, and subsequent American invasion. Once he is ousted from power, distribute his money to the people and infrastructure (not U.S. money), and establish a U.S. Military base in Libya (or occupy one of those that's already there). Then remove all our weapons, secure oil wells and trade, maintain slight presence, and end of conflict! It's as simple as that, degraciado.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      You know better than that,Phunnie boy. Cut it out!!!

      March 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BruceBanner

    @Cesar: Yes we need to make sure a capitalist democracy takes hold there. It would be a shame if a communist military dictatorship took hold there. 😉

    March 2, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      That's exactly what Libya needs. America needs to quit butting in!

      March 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dgs

    The US DOES NOT need to think of invading Libya. Our forces are spread too thin now. Let another free nation take the lead for a change. From the looks of things here in the US, we need to focus on ourselves for awhile.
    @Dott..you said it so well!!

    March 2, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Thank you dgs and Dott for your sensible comments here. I'm sick and tired of all these ignoramuses and their right-wing nonsense!!!

      March 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JIGhulkSAW


    March 2, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ovidiu

    i like this blog

    March 2, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. CommunistSuperfriendsUnite!

    I think the best way to solve this is to run over some pro-democracy college kids with tanks on national tv.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    @Cesar 9:43 Hi Fake Cesar. Use your own name plz. T/U .

    March 2, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Prinus Kota

    I pray for Mr. Qadafi and all Libyans : free yourself all from agitating issues. Your nation is in your hand. BUT...again BUT, please follow and accept all humanitarian aids from abroad to help migrant workers. and slowly try to an open mind of all good and meaningful news from abroad about what happened these days in Libya. In one side Libyan people need reformation and change of power but in other side there is no responses by the administration. Please think best for your country...a country which vivifies human dignity,human rights and accepting and honoring diversities. Allah be with you all.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |

    I think we should just spray concentrated hpv and clap at the protesters. What say you? Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra? You sicko.

    March 2, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. old man

    Do not worry, it is we europeans who will get all illegal immigrants and be conquered from the inside

    March 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • JACK

      Well "Old Man" it is their time to be conquered and exploited just like the colonial times. It is "Kamar"

      March 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    Israel is becoming a nation. Soon they'll be the downfall mankind after they spread their wars across the world. U.S. needs to take some sort of military action, I DON'T CARE WHAT IT IS, just do it already! Need to spread Western ideology, manifest destiny sort of, degraciado.

    March 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
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