27 Mar 2011

Ajdabiya regained by rebels in Libya

9:00 am on 27 March 2011

Rebels in eastern Libya have regained control in the town of Ajdabiya from forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

It's the first town to be recaptured by the rebels since the beginning of the campaign by foreign powers to impose an air exclusion zone and protect civilians.

Deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim says government troops withdrew because of a heavy bombardment by the coalition.

He says that amounts to direct aid for the rebels and goes beyond the protection of civilians which is mandated by a United Nations resolution.

The BBC reports the rebel breakthrough came after a seventh night of bombardment by allies enforcing the UN resolution against Colonel Gaddafi.

Overnight strikes by international forces also reportedly hit an air base on the outskirts of Misrata, a rebel-held city further west.

The rebels say their fighters have now reached the outskirts of the oil-exporting town of Brega.