Air Raid Ras Lanuf
Gaddafi’s jets are bombing rebel positions at the outskirts of the important oil port of Ras Lanuf on the central Libyan coast. The rebel forces are shooting back with anti-air-artillery. Some diesel fuel storage tanks at the As-Sidra refinery and at least one pipeline have been hit.
The rebels are not experienced with the anti-aircraft guns and have not been a threat to the jets. They are inexperienced in battle and are reportedly fleeing. However, Ras Lanuf has traded hands three times in nine days, which says something for their ability.
Ras Lanuf lies right at the dividing line between the eastern part of Libya where sentiment is strongly anti-government and western part of Libya that is strongly pro-Gaddafi. For the rebel forces to attack Gaddafi in his hiding place in Tripoli, they have to control Ras Lanuf, and from there, stage the attack on Gaddafi’s home town of SIrte, a few hundred kilometers (120 miles) to the west.
Al Jazeera reported that the fighting was intense.
“What we are hearing is intense and repeated attacks by Gaddafi’s airplanes on the rebels,” Jacky Rowland said.
“The air force is concentrating on the big junctions at the entrance to the town. The opposition fighters are extremely panicked.”
Rowland reported that the refinery was hit three times.
“There are huge plumes of smoke leaping into the air. We can see mortar fire from Gaddafi troops and the rebels are firing rockets towards the west.”