In Libya, Rebels Driven Back While world leaders met in London Tuesday to discuss Libya, on the ground in North Africa, the see-saw battle for control of key oil towns continued. On Monday, rebel forces gained substantial ground along the Mediterranean coast, thanks in large part to Western air and missile attacks on troops loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi. But on Tuesday, the loyalists fought back, forcing the rebel fighters to make a hasty retreat along the coast road
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In Libya, Rebels Driven Back

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In Libya, Rebels Driven Back

In Libya, Rebels Driven Back

In Libya, Rebels Driven Back

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While world leaders met in London Tuesday to discuss Libya, on the ground in North Africa, the see-saw battle for control of key oil towns continued. On Monday, rebel forces gained substantial ground along the Mediterranean coast, thanks in large part to Western air and missile attacks on troops loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi. But on Tuesday, the loyalists fought back, forcing the rebel fighters to make a hasty retreat along the coast road

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

But NPR's Eric Westervelt reports that today, the loyalists fought back, forcing the rebels to make a hasty retreat along the coastal road.

ERIC WESTERVELT: But rebels and witnesses say their progress again stalled last night and today, as Gadhafi troops pushed back using sustained mortar and Grad rocket fire. Now, rebel fighters are pulling back from the town of Bin Jawad, and there were reports of Gadhafi artillery fire on nearby Ras Lanuf.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTSTEPS)

WESTERVELT: Twenty-five-year-old Bashir al-Maghrebi returned to Ras Lanuf to find that a Gadhafi artillery round had smashed into his home during the recent fighting. There's now a hole the size of a washing machine in the second floor back wall. The windows are all smashed out and a spider web of cracks has splintered what remains of his other walls.

NORRIS: (Foreign language spoken)

WESTERVELT: Maghrebi slams Gadhafi for squandering Libya's oil wealth during his 42-year dictatorship.

NORRIS: (Foreign language spoken)

WESTERVELT: Meanwhile, rebel forces in Benghazi are trying to get much needed medical supplies and ammunition to opposition fighters in the besieged city of Misrata in western Libya.

NORRIS: Misrata, Misrata, Misrata, Misrata.

WESTERVELT: Benghazi Port Captain Ali Spak listens to a radio call from Misrata's port. He's helping organize the semi-regular shipments there. The latest convoy of three boats arrived in Misrata over the weekend, and he says it immediately took heavy fire from Gadhafi artillery units, which seemed to know they were coming.

NORRIS: They were aiming at these boats because they knew their arrival time. They knew that what they were carrying, medicines and supply and help for Misrata's people, so they just shoot everywhere in the port area. Two fishing boats sank, one Ukrainian ship was slightly damaged, the silos of the grains was damaged.

WESTERVELT: Eric Westervelt, NPR News, in eastern Libya.

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