March 2nd, 2011
05:30 PM ET

Deadly fighting as Gadhafi tries to retake rebel-held town

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Libyan aircraft bombed a section of eastern Libya on Wednesday as leader Moammar Gadhafi tried to retake control of an area seized by rebel forces.

A CNN crew saw the aircraft drop two bombs near al-Brega, a town in the east with key oil and natural gas facilities.

Later, a military aircraft dropped a third bomb. People on the ground shot and threw whatever they could at the aircraft, then fled.

After one of the attacks, people carrying stretchers were seen running to the site of the bombing.

Fighting also raged on the ground, as Gadhafi's forces tried to take control of a university in al-Brega.

A doctor told CNN there were four dead and 23 wounded at his hospital in the area, all victims of gunshot wounds.

Residents of the town said the rebels maintained control of al-Brega, repelling Libyan ground forces.

Earlier Wednesday, military aircraft bombed military camps on the outskirts of the town of Ajdabiya, a tribal leader said.

The tribal leader, who did not want to be identified for safety reasons, said youths in Ajdabiya were massing and heading toward the conflict area to help defend the town, which has been in the control of rebel forces in recent days. Some military bases in eastern Libya have fallen into the hands of rebels as more members of the military have abandoned Gadhafi's regime and joined the opposition.

The bombings could support calls for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent such attacks. The United States has said all options are on the table. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said imposing a no-fly zone would be "an extraordinarily complex operation."

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday that, while Libyans are not asking for foreign troops on the ground, they need "the tools to prevent the slaughter of innocents on Libyan streets, and I believe that the global community cannot be on the sidelines while airplanes are allowed to bomb and strafe. A no-fly zone is not a long-term proposition, assuming the outcome is what all desire, and I believe that we ought to be ready to implement it as necessary."

The Arab League met Wednesday to consider a resolution rejecting foreign military intervention in Libya, where protesters have been demonstrating for weeks, calling for more freedoms and for the longtime ruler to step down.

"We perceive what happened and what is happening is an internal affair that is decided by the people and their governments," the Arab League said in a statement.

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