Brega: In a fierce day-long battle, rebel forces in this strategic oil town successfully repelled an attack on Wednesday by government loyalists backed by artillery and war planes, witnesses in the town said.
At least six were confirmed dead and 16 wounded in the fighting, the witnesses said, and the death toll was expected to rise.
The attack seemed to spearhead a broader effort by the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to reassert control over strategic oil assets in the eastern part of the country, which have been seized by rebel forces in recent weeks.
The attack began at dawn, the witnesses said, as the government fighters arrived in a convoy of more than 50 SUVs and quickly took control of the airport and port facilities in this oil-exporting terminal on the Libyan coast around 500 miles east of Colonel Qaddafi’s stronghold in the capital, Tripoli. News of the attack galvanized rebel fighters in the nearby cities of Ajdabiya and Benghazi, who raced to the front lines armed with AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and aging anti-tank weapons.