BENGHAZI, Libya, July 7 (UPI) -- Libyan rebels said Thursday they were preparing for an offensive aimed at the capital, Tripoli.
In Benghazi, the rebel capital in eastern Libya, fighters in a convoy of trucks and armored vehicles said they were headed for the port, The Wall Street Journal reported. They said they would be transported west by ship to Misrata.
Officials in Benghazi had no comment, the Journal said.
Rebels control Misrata, about 100 miles east of Tripoli. But the city remains under bombardment by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Rebels seized control of a village Wednesday, a move they described as a key step toward the highway connecting Tripoli with the south.
Gadhafi has remained defiant, threatening European countries participating in the NATO airstrikes with terrorist attacks.
A spokesman for the rebels in Misrata complained Thursday that NATO air support has been inconsistent, with aircraft sometimes grounded while battles are still being fought. Fatti Bashada told the BBC Gadhafi's forces are afraid to use rocket launchers while NATO planes are in the air.
"When there's no flight, it means they are free to use any weapons against us," he said.