International

In Eastern Libya: Anti-Gadhafi Protesters Say Some Soldiers Joined Them

Many Egyptians who had been in Libya fed across the nations' boarder today (Feb. 22, 2011). i i

hide captionMany Egyptians who had been in Libya fled across the nations' boarder today (Feb. 22, 2011).

Hussein Malla/AP
Many Egyptians who had been in Libya fed across the nations' boarder today (Feb. 22, 2011).

Many Egyptians who had been in Libya fled across the nations' boarder today (Feb. 22, 2011).

Hussein Malla/AP

The anti-regime militia members she's encountering today in eastern Libya say they were helped by some police officers and army soldiers in recent days in an ultimately successful effort to fight back against fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports.

Reporting from inside Libya, Lourdes says that:

— The self-titled "free Libyan troops" she's spoken to "feel that they now have control of eastern Libya."

— They also say "they were really hit hard initially, when Moammar Gadhafi tried to crush this nascent rebellion. Eventually what happened is that police and certain army units came over to their side and helped them fight off those loyal to Moammar Gadhafi."

Here's what it sounded like when Lourdes called to fill in the NPR Newcast desk about what she's seeing and hearing:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

As we reported earlier, Gadhafi is vowing he will crush the protesters, who he says are a "bunch of terrorists" that have been egged on by "foreign agents."

Update at 3:20 p.m. ET: Reuters reports that Libya's interior minister, Fattah Younes al Abidi, has left the government and has urged the army to join the side of the protesters and respond to their "legitimate demands."

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