Gadhafi loyalists attack oil refinery

Gadhafi loyalists attack oil refinery
Rebels celebrate in Tripoli, Libya, Sept. 2, 2011.UPI/Tarek Elframawy.. | License Photo

BANI WALID, Libya, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Forces loyal to deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi attacked an oil refinery on the Mediterranean coast Monday, leaders of rebel forces said.

The attack in the port of Ras Lanuf was the first significant action by the loyalists since rebels drove them from Tripoli, the capital, four weeks ago, The New York Times reported.


The Transitional National Council, the governing body formed by rebel forces, said the attack was apparently a response to news that the council had taken steps to restart oil production at the refinery.

Intense fighting outside one of Gadhafi's last strongholds was reported as Libya's new leaders moved to unite fighting factions.

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The announcement of unity efforts Sunday by the transitional council came amid reports of infighting and arguments among fighters surrounding the city of Bani Walid after they encountered resistance during an assault, CNN reported Monday.

Bani Walid was one of three communities still controlled by Gadhafi loyalists.

Fighting raged in Bani Walid after negotiators failed to reach agreement on the city's surrender to the NTC.

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Forces loyal to Gadhafi in the city were heavily armed, NTC spokesman Abdulrahman Busin told CNN.


Gadhafi's whereabouts were unknown.

A convoy of troops left the front in Bani Walid after arguing with another group of fighters from the city, witnesses said.

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Negotiations have begun with bands of fighters to bring them under the control of the NTC, the organization's chairman, Mahmoud Jibril, said.

However, a spokesman for a new Tripoli military council said the plan was "unacceptable."

Jibril announced that a transitional governing executive committee will be created within 10 days and will include representation from across Libya, including areas of the country still under siege.

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Nigerian Justice Minister Marou Amadou said one of Gadhafi's sons, Saadi, along with eight former Libyan officials, fled escaped from Libya and were in Niger, The New York Times reported.

News about Saadi Gadhafi prompted Libya's new leaders to call for his immediate extradition to Libya to stand trial, The Washington Post reported.

"These people should not be allowed to get away with the crimes they have committed," said Jalal al-Gallal, a spokesman for the rebels. "Neighboring countries should not be allowed to provide safe haven to these criminals."

RELATED Libyans rebels begin fight for Bani Walid

At least three Libyan convoys have entered Niger recently, carrying generals, Gadhafi family members and low-ranking regime personnel, Niger officials said.


Moamma Gadhafi's wife, two other sons and some others fled recently to Algeria, which said it accepted them on humanitarian grounds.

Gadhafi's foreign intelligence chief, Bouzaid Dorda, was in rebel custody, CNN reported.

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