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Posted at 4:12 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Libya: Rebels repel attack on Brega, Libyans react strongly against foreign intervention

By Elizabeth Flock
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi speaks at a ceremony of loyalists to mark 34 years of "people power" in Tripoli on March 2, 2011 during which he vowed to fight an uprising against his 41-year rule to "the last man, the last woman". (Getty Images)

As demonstrations continue around the Middle East, we keep you updated on the developing situation. Use this chart to keep up with all of the demonstrations, day by day.

We'll be marking time in Eastern Standard Time. Tunisia is six hours ahead, Egypt and Libya are seven hours ahead, Yemen and Iraq are eight hours ahead, and Oman is nine hours ahead. (See World Clock here.)

LIBYA: 11:43 p.m. (EET) / 4:43 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

We're signing off for the night, but we leave you with this photo of a rebel holding his ears as a bomb launched by a Libyan air force jet explodes in the desert near Brega today:

(REUTERS/Joel Silva/Folhapress)

Come visit us tomorrow for the latest developments. Thanks for being with us today.

LIBYA: 11:12 p.m. (EET) / 4:12 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Libyan rebels beat back Gaddafi forces: Video

Libyan rebels repelled an assault by troops backing Moammar Gaddafi in a key oil port Wednesday. The battle in the town of Brega lasted for hours until the attackers beat a retreat. Watch:

LIBYA: 9:00 p.m. (EET) / 2:00 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Protesters communicate through dating site

Gaddafi's government has intermittently blocked users from accessing Facebook and Twitter in the country or watched user accounts, so some Libyans have found innovative ways to communicate with fellow revolutionaries online.

Omar Shibliy Mahmoudi, a leader among the Libyan antigovernment protesters, set up a fake profile on popular Libyan dating site Mawada, ABC News reported.

Screen grab from dating site Mawada.

Mahmoudi says he "created a Mawada profile called 'Where Is Miriam?' and pretended to be on the hunt for a wife." Other protesters posed as women with names like Sweet Butterfly and Opener of the Mountain to get in touch with him, since the site does not allow men to message other men, Mahmoudi told ABC.

On the site, the anti-Gaddafi users used messages laced with revolutionary references to make initial contact with another user and gauge their support "May your day be full of Jasmine," for example, was used to talk about the Jasmine Revolution sweeping the region. They also communicated in more precise code: Five Ls in the phrase "I LLLLLove you" meant they had five people with them. The revolutionaries then had detailed follow-up conversations on text message and Yahoo Messenger.

LIBYA: 9:00 p.m. (EET) / 2:00 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Libyans react strongly against foreign intervention

As two U.S. warships crossed into the Mediterranean and closer to Libya promising humanitarian relief while U.S. officials gave mixed messages about whether they were seriously considering a no-fly zone, Libyans reacted strongly against foreign intervention.

Gaddafi promised that U.S. intervention would lead to war. Libyan citizens galvanized support on Facebook, with pages such as "Libyan Consensus We Don't Want Foreign Intervention". On Twitter, Libyan accounts such as "EnoughGaddafi" tweeted their mistrust of intervention: "#gaddafi is himself the result of int'l intervention in #libya , they've only found no need for him any longer #feb17".

Screen grab from Libyan Facebook page.

LIBYA: 8:30 p.m. (EET) / 1:30 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Rebels repel attack by Gaddafi's forces on Brega

Our correspondent Leila Fadel just sent in this report from Brega:

Rebel forces successfully repelled powerful ground and air assaults in the oil rich area of Brega on Wednesday as Gaddafi forces attempted to creep back into the east and reassert control.

Gaddafi forces arrived in over 60 armed vehicles and were shelling the area as rebel forces attacked.

After an hour-long battle the rebels celebrated their victory and vowed to push forward to ensure Gaddafi's forces did not return.

"We are going to liberate Brega and then on to Tripoli," said one fighter as they refueled at a gas station in Ajdabiya.

Ambulances and doctors rushed towards Brega to help. In the main hospital of Ajdabiya six of the dead had been brought in and at least 13 wounded. They were expecting more by Wednesday night.

Libyan Youth Movement and others in Brega tweeted about the battle:

Protesters regaining the town of Brega being described as a huge morale boost for the Libyan people #Libya #Feb17 #gaddaficrimesless than a minute ago via web

uprising push back regime attack on oil port: #BREGA #Libya (AP) than a minute ago via web

in Benghazi, at Courthouse, every rumour/report creates excited buzz"its like we r on 50 cups of coffee"says one spokesman #Libya #Feb17less than a minute ago via web

LIBYA: 8:07 p.m. (EET) / 1:07 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

A mass exodus from the fighting in Libya

European nations and Egypt launched emergency airlifts along Libya's borders Wednesday, AP reported. Tens of thousands of foreign workers poured into Tunisia to escape the growing conflict in Libya.

Relief efforts in Tunisia were overwhelmed by the thousands of workers, and U.N. experts warned that fast action was needed to protect and feed the refugees before it became a humanitarian crisis.

See a gallery of the mass exodus here.

EGYPT: 6:49 p.m. (EET) / 11:49 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Mubarak reportedly being treated for cancer

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak(AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

Toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is receiving medical treatment for cancer in Saudi Arabia, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported, citing a report in the state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday.

"Mubarak is currently in a military base in the city of Tabuk and is receiving treatment for colon and pancreatic cancer," the report said. "He is undergoing chemotherapy every five days."

Egyptian authorities had earlier placed a travel ban on Mubarak, but many believed he was able to escape Egypt for the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

LIBYA: 6:02 p.m. (EET) / 11:02 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

14 dead in battle for oil port

A Libyan oil worker works at a refinery inside the Brega oil complex in Brega, east of Libya, on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. Production at Brega has dropped by almost 90 percent amid the country's crisis because many employees have fled and few ships are coming to offload the product. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi launched deadly air and ground assaults near a key oil port held by rebels in eastern Libya on Wednesday, sending panic through a part of the country where the opposition has seized control of many cities.

Although initial reports were sketchy, at least 14 people were reported killed in heavy fighting in and around the oil port of Brega, including in the town of Ajdabiya, 50 miles to the northeast of Brega.

Witnesses said a convoy of 60 trucks - filled with men armed with bazookas, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns - entered the area at dawn. Al Jazeera reported that the Libyan air force bombed the oil refinery and port, triggering huge plumes of smoke.

Pro-government forces launched shells at the rebels from a university campus, according to witness accounts. Opposition fighters armed with rifles, machetes and meat skewers tried to fight off the militias. A paramedic said 14 people were killed.

LIBYA: 5:29 p.m. (EET) / 10:29 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Clinton addresses Senate committee

LIVE NOW: Clinton addresses Senate committee:

LIBYA: 5:29 p.m. (EET) / 10:29 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Libya protest video "Join the Libyan army of demonstrators against the tyrant and mercenaries"

Screen grab

A Libyan Facebook group called "Uprising of February 17, 2011: To make it a day of anger in Libya," which has been instrumental in galvanizing support for the protests in Libya and has nearly 100,000 fans, posted a video Wednesday that purportedly showed members of the Libyan army fighting alongside the demonstrators.

The video, entitled "Join the Libyan army of demonstrators against the tyrant and mercenaries," got nearly 2,000 likes within an hour of its posting and nearly a hundred comments of support.

Watch it here. If you would like to see the comments translated, view it in Google Chrome. NOTE: The video contains violent imagery.

LIBYA: 5:29 p.m. (EET) / 10:29 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Live Q&A with a Libyan citizen

A Libyan citizen who studied in the U.S. and is now living in Tripoli will be online today, March 2, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the current situation in Libya. Send in your questions here.

LIBYA: 5:08 p.m. (EET) / 10:08 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Oil prices top $100 per barrel on Libya fears

Oil prices have topped $100 per barrel as the New York Mercantile Exchange opens for trading. Prices rose Wednesday morning as fighting escalated in Libya, a major oil exporter to Europe. Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi pushed back against protestors in the eastern half of the country, battling for control of a key oil installation and an airstrip.

LIBYA: 5:03 p.m. (EET) / 10:03 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Two U.S. warships arrive in Mediterranean

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise transits the Suez Canal in Egypt in this February 15, 2011 handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy. The United States is moving warships and aircraft, including the USS Enterprise, into the Mediterranean Sea near Libya, according to U.S. officials. (REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jesse L. Gonzalez/Handout)

Two U.S. amphibious warships, the USS Ponce and the USS Kearsarge, passed through Egypt's Suez Canal on Wednesday and arrived in the Mediterranean, a canal official told Reuters. Read more here.

LIBYA: 3:47 p.m. (EET) / 8:47 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Yemen's president accuses U.S. of instigation

Yemen's embattled president on Tuesday accused the U.S., his closest ally, of instigating the mounting protests against him, but the gambit failed to slow the momentum for his ouster. Watch:

LIBYA: 3:47 p.m. (EET) / 8:47 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Reactions to Gaddafi's televised speech

Gaddafi concluded his televised speech after hitting the two hour mark, Al Jazeera reported. Gaddafi vowed to fight to the "last man and last woman" to defend his country, and spoke on Egypt, oil, and his own salary:

On Egypt: "Egypt now is nothing! There is no Egyptian in agreement with another! The military is helpless!"

On oil: "Undermining Libya's unity or oil wealth will lead to everyone bearing arms ... Oil is our bread and butter. We will die in its defense."

On his salary: "I am ready to have my accounts verified. My salary is only 465 dinars [approximately $380].... My wife's charity receives donations, which are channeled to needy causes in Africa. Sometimes these are channeled domestically."

Youth movement members, writers, and local Libyans reacted with derision to Gaddafi's speech.

A photo on the Libyan Youth Movement Facebook page showed protesters carrying a sign that read "Breaking News, Gaddafi is lying now":

Screen grab

It's worth reading the comments to this photo here.

Tweets expressed similar sentiments:

is #Gaddafi still going, I consider this a distraction tactic from his side, so not to focus on the real news in #Libyaless than a minute ago via web

Sign - The pill popping rambler is back on his pills #Libya #Feb17 #gaddaficrimesless than a minute ago via web

Benghazi protests: sign being held in the air reads: Breaking - Gaddafi is lying' wonderful #Libya #Feb17 i will upload pic nowless than a minute ago via web

LIBYA: 2:47 p.m. (EET) / 7:47 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Gaddafi gives televised public rally, denies protests

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi moved to recapture control of a key oil port in eastern Libya early Wednesday. It looked as if loyalist forces could reverse the tide of the opposition uprising.

Gaddafi also gave a televised public rally in the capital, Tripoli, Wednesday, denying the existence of protests in Libya and saying the power was in the "hands of the people".

This image broadcast on Libyan state television Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, shows Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as he addresses the nation in Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo/Libya State Television via APTN) (AP)

During the rally, Gaddafi said that he is not a president and so cannot resign his position, Al Jazeera reported. "The foreigners want Gaddafi to step down, to step down from what? Gaddafi is just a symbol for the Libyan people... This is how the Libyan people understood it," he said.

Gaddafi also reiterated the claim he made to journalist Christiane Amanpour that there were no protests happening in Libya. Gaddafi said it all started with sleeping terrorist cells taking over weapons and security stations and releasing prisoners from jails, Al Jazeera reported.

"These are criminals not political prisoners ... there are no political prisoners in Libya ... We had to destroy the weapons storages to prevent them from falling into the hands of the terrorists," he said.

Gaddafi also called on the United Nations and NATO to investigate what had happened in Libya, and the conspiracy to colonize Libya and seize its oil. He warned that "thousands of Libyans" will die if the U.S. or NATO intervene in his country.

IRAN: 4:16 p.m. (IRST) / 7:47 a.m. (EST, Wednesday

Police in Iran use teargas to disperse protestors

Iranian security forces clashed with demonstrators and shot tear gas Tuesday to break up a rally, an opposition Web site reported. The rally was in support of two opposition leaders who have been targeted in a new crackdown on anti-government protests.

Witnesses said large crowds marched along the main Enghelab (Revolution) Street, where large numbers of professional and voluntary security forces were stationed. As security forces fired tear gas at the demonstrators, protesters set fire to trash cans, witnesses said. Similar anti-government protests were reported in other cities across Iran.

Iran rejected outside criticism of its handling of the opposition and arrest of two prominent dissidents.

Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. Cartoons of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama are placed next to a symbolic coffin of the U.S. during a protest in front of the United Nations' office in Tehran Feb. 27, 2011. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

By Elizabeth Flock  | March 2, 2011; 4:12 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Gaddafi's not the only one in denial.

Tunisia: Security forces kill 2 protestors in entire course of revolution, plus one journalist hit on head with CS canister.

US spokesman (Obama): "I condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people."

Iraq: Security forces kill 29 and wound dozens more with gunfire on first day. At least four different demonstrations were opened up on with lethal fire. Nationwide curfew imposed before the demonstrations could even start. 300 writers, journalists and govt critics rounded up and tortured with beatings and electric shocks.

US spokesman (Baghdad embassy): "Iraq's security forces generally have not used force against peaceful protesters."

Posted by: bourassa1 | March 2, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

America and its European stooges always bleat they want "democracy" but have not hesitated to commit mass murder and human rights violations when their wallets are at stake. What the US/NATO stooges really want is ruthless dictators that rule their countries with an iron fist, but only ones that have strategic geopolitical importance and abundant resources notably oil and which are friendly to the US. Which is why the US supported Mubarak the torturer for 30 years. Saddam was originally INSTALLED into power by the US who sent the CIA to assasinate his democratic and popular opponent and only stopped being a US ally when he nationalized his oil. Gadaffi is benign compared to some of the murdering dictators that America has established around the world. But Gaddafi is also cunning, he knows how to award loyalty, his military and business supporters get a generous share of the oil profits which is why he is able to stand up to this kind of rebellion fairly well. Freezing his assets was a huge mistake for the west. Just as in Iraq, their aim is to grab 100% of his oil and replace him with another undemocratic puppet regime that sold only to the west, but their plan is going to backfire. The US and its groveling European and Canadian clones who join in on military adventures for profits, do not have an ounce of democracy or decency and have virtually no moral platform to stand on.

Posted by: markdonner | March 2, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse


Breaking footage has just been posted to YouTube of Gaddafi landing in France. I knew the French would accept him with open arms:

Remember all the contracts they gave to Sadam? The defied the UN back then, and they are doing it again!

Posted by: webcontent2011 | March 2, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The military industrial complex which rules the US favors Libyan intervention. It would give our military more war games to play and more civilians to kill.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | March 2, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for posting the secret site where the Libyan resistance has set up shop to communicate with anti-government protesters. And thank you too for decoding some of their secret codes!!! you idiots - who are you working for? is the war criminal Gaddafi paying you??? SHAME! how irresponsible!

Posted by: genevieve2000 | March 2, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for posting the secret site where the Libyan resistance has set up shop to communicate with anti-government protesters. And thank you too for decoding some of their secret codes!!! you idiots - who are you working for? is the war criminal Gaddafi paying you??? SHAME! how irresponsible!

Posted by: genevieve2000 | March 2, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for posting the secret site where the Libyan resistance has set up shop to communicate with anti-government protesters. And thank you too for decoding some of their secret codes!!! you idiots - who are you working for? is the war criminal Gaddafi paying you??? SHAME! how irresponsible!

Posted by: genevieve2000 | March 2, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Before the US or NATO intervenes militarily in Libya perhaps we should look to see who in the region now supports Ghaddafi. Is he supported by Syria, Saudi Arabia,Iran,Algeria, or other nations in the region who would come to his aid if he is attacked by the US or NATO?
It is pretty clear that Ghaddafi has substantial support in Libya but what about outside of the country? The last thing the US needs is another war. We can't handle the invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan. Iraq, as the US withdraws, will become an ally of Iran. That isn't good for the US. As the US is forced out of Afghanistan as it will eventually be who knows who will replace us. Whoever that is will be a US enemy. The US cannot continue to make enemies around the world.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | March 2, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

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