Sunday, May 8, 2011

'Italy to arm Libyan revolutionaries'

Libyan revolutionary fighters gather on the outskirts of Misratah, May 1, 2011.

Source: Press TV

Libya's National Transitional Council says Italy has agreed to supply the revolutionaries with weapons in their fight against forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

Asked whether he could confirm the reports, Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the revolutionaries' Transitional National Council, said, "Yes, the military officers have confirmed that they have an agreement with the Italians.”

"They will supply us with weapons. They've already been there (to Rome) twice, and we will receive them very soon," he told a news conference in opposition-held town of Benghazi on Saturday.

Ghoga said the weapons would be provided to the revolutionaries soon but did not specify the types of arms that are to be delivered, Reuters reported.

The report comes as a government source in Rome has said Italy will only offer revolutionaries self-defense material.

France, Britain and Italy have reportedly dispatched military advisors to Benghazi to assist the revolutionaries.

Meanwhile, aircraft operated by pro-Gaddafi forces dropped bombs on oil storage tanks on Saturday and damaged four more containers near the besieged city of Misratah.

Revolutionary forces say they had warned NATO about the planes before the airstrike, but received no response.

Pro-Gaddafi forces used small planes in their overnight attack in Qasr Ahmed, close to Misratah.

"Four tanks were totally destroyed and huge fire erupted which spread now to the other four. We cannot extinguish it because we do not have the right tools," opposition spokesman Ahmed Hassan said.

Earlier, revolutionaries criticized NATO for its failure to stop an assault on oil storage containers despite prior warnings about the possible bombardment.

Government forces have bombarded Misratah over the past several weeks, attempting to prevent supplies from reaching the port.

Meanwhile, at least nine people have been killed and scores of others injured in clashes near the western town of Zintan.

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