Published: March 23rd 2011
March 23rd 2011
Libya has witnessed more intense fighting as forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the country's embattled but defiant leader, continue to attack rebel positions across the North African state.
Undaunted by air strikes launched by coalition warplanes aimed at enforcing a no-fly zone, pro-Gaddafi forces have pressed ahead with their assaults on the towns of Misurata, Ajdabiya and Zintan in the past 24 hours.
Pro-democracy fighters ranged against him are finding the going tough. Mostly outgunned and with little command structure, they have been left to run sporadic raids against Gaddafi's troops, before falling back to their original lines.
But despite the little headway made by them, a rebel commander described the men as "real heroes".
"They are brave to the point of being suicidal," Mohamed Hariri told Al Jazeera.
Amid the continued fighting, Gaddafi insisted he was "ready for battle, be it long or short".
"We will win this battle," he said in an address during a public appearance at his Bab Al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli that was the target on Sunday of a coalition missile strike, Libyan state television reported.
He also railed against the coalition forces, saying: "This assault ... is by a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history."
Overnight, anti-aircraft fire erupted over the Libyan capital, Tripoli for the fourth successive night.
"We've been hearing big noises," Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Tripoli, said.