Gaddafi Regime Pounds Rebel Stronghold Benghazi – Rebels Shoot Down Libyan Jet (Video)
Libyan forces loyal to Mammar Gaddafi pounded the rebel stronghold Benghazi despite the recent declaration by the United Nations. The rebels were able to shoot down a Libyan jet over the city.
The AP reported:
Moammar Gadhafi took advantage of international indecision to attack the heart of the 5-week-old uprising on Saturday, sending troops, tanks and warplanes to swarm the first city seized by the rebels. Crashing shells shook buildings, and the sounds of battle drew closer to Benghazi’s center.
“Where is France, where is NATO?” cried a 50-year-old woman in Benghazi, where a doctor said 27 people were killed Saturday. “It’s too late.”
Leaders from the Arab world, the United States and other Western powers are holding urgent talks in Paris over possible military action, and France’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gerard Araud, told BBC Newsnight that he expected military action to begin within hours of the meeting. In an open letter, Gadafhi warned: “You will regret it if you dare to intervene in our country.”
On Saturday, a warplane was shot down over the outskirts of Benghazi, sending up a massive black cloud of smoke. An Associated Press reporter saw the plane go down in flames and heard the sound of artillery and crackling gunfire.
Before the plane went down, journalists heard what appeared to be airstrikes from it. Rebels cheered and celebrated at the crash, though the government denied a plane had gone down — or that any towns were shelled on Saturday.
The fighting galvanized the people of Benghazi, with young men collecting bottles to make gasoline bombs. Some residents dragged bed frames and metal scraps into the streets to make roadblocks.
Abdel-Hafez, a 49-year-old Benghazi resident, said rebels and government soldiers were fighting on a university campus on the south side of the city, with government tanks moving in, followed by ground troops. In the city center, tank fire drew closer and rebel shouts rang out.