Wednesday, June 29, 2011

France arms Libyan revolutionaries

Libyan revolutionaries ride a truck loaded with weapons southeast of Zintan June 29, 2011

Source: Press TV

France has provided Libyan revolutionaries with weapons and food in early June to reinforce them in the fight against forces loyal to the country's ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

"There were humanitarian drops because the humanitarian situation was worsening and at one point it seemed the security situation was threatening civilians who could not defend themselves," Reuters quoted France's armed forces spokesman Thierry Burkhard as saying on Wednesday.

"France therefore also sent equipment allowing them to defend themselves, comprising light weapons and munitions," Burkhard added, stating that they had sent medicine and food, too.

Le Figaro newspaper said on Wednesday that France had parachuted "large amounts" of weapons, including rocket launchers, assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank missiles into the Jebel Nafusa region in the west of Libya.

The French spokesman said the aid aimed at preventing Gaddafi forces from taking control of the Western Nafusa Mountains.

The newspaper added that France had taken the measure without consultation with the NATO partners.

National Transitional Council Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam has said the Libyan opposition organization has not asked for any further military aid.

"We are getting our (military) means from other places," Shammam said.

Qatar has been a major supplier of weapons to Libyan revolutionaries through the opposition-held city of Benghazi in the east of the North African country.

On Wednesday, revolutionary forces seized a major ammunition depot of the regime in a storage site some 32 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of the mountainous town of Zintan, according to their spokesman Gomaa Ibrahim.

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