Tripoli/Cairo: The UN
envoy to Libya met Tuesday for the first time with leaders of rebel
forces fighting Muammar Gaddafi's brigades, as a number of
rebel-held cities in the country's west came under attack.
A UN spokesman said that its representative, Abdul Ilah Khatib, met
with Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the Libyan Transitional
National Council, and other rebel leaders in Libya's eastern city of
"They described the various aspects of the situation and pointed out
sufferings and hardships endured by some Libyan cities and towns,"
Al Khatib said.
The meeting came as Gaddafi's forces shelled the western city of
Yefren, destroying several houses and a mosque.
There were also reports of shelling in Zintan, with Gaddafi's forces
trying to enter the city centre using heavy artillery, a rebel
spokesman in the city, located just east of Tripoli, told
broadcaster Al Jazeera.
The opposition Libyan Youth Movement said one Gaddafi loyalist
caught in Zintan had confessed they would be paid 600 Libyan dinar
($490) for every dead body taken back to Tripoli.
Residents of the western city of Misurata said their city was also
under attack by Gaddafi's forces. They complained that
communications were blocked, and that there had been no water in the
city for the past week.
A doctor in Misurata, the country's third largest city, said
hundreds had been injured there over the past two days and medical
resources were running out.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned that it had heard reports
that prices of basic commodities have doubled, while 95 percent of
shops in the cities of Zawiya, Misurata and Sirte remained closed.
Despite the continued unrest in several cities Tuesday, a British
military official said that the assault by Gaddafi's forces had been
halted, but admitted that the threat had not entirely been removed.
Spokesman Major General John Lorimer said that aircraft from the US,
France, Denmark, Italy and Britain were joined for the first time by
Spanish fighters during the latest operations, which took place
under US command.
The British military confirmed earlier Tuesday that a US fighter jet
crashed in Libya, as a fourth day of international action aimed at
curbing Gaddafi's ability to attack civilians was underway.
According to Britain's defence ministry, the two US pilots were both
"Thankfully both crew members are safe," Lorimer told a briefing in
London. Further details of the F-15 crash would be given by the US,
which has already confirmed reports of the crash.
A mechanical failure, not hostile fire, was believed to be the cause
of the crash, which reportedly took place near the rebel stronghold
of Benghazi, in eastern Libya.
This is the first coalition aircraft to crash in Libya since a
military operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya began
Coalition airstrikes took out radar sites near Benghazi and hit two
navy bases near the capital Tripoli in the early hours of Tuesday.
Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said coalition forces had
struck a harbour, 30 km west of Tripoli Monday, as well as the
airports in Gaddafi's home town of Sirte and the southern town of
Ibrahim alleged that "many" civilians had been killed by the
Witnesses told the DPA that strikes over Tripoli were not affecting
daily life in the capital. Stores were open all day and traffic was
China, meanwhile, said it was "deeply concerned" about civilian
casualties in Libya and continued to oppose the Western-led