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Libyan Rebels Retake City Near Key Oil Port

Source: Bloomberg 3/26/2011, Location: Africa

Libyan rebels moved into the central city of Ajdabiya, near the strategic oil port of Ras Lanuf, after U.S. and allied warplanes stepped up their bombardment of Muammar Qaddafiís tanks, artillery and soldiers.

Opposition fighters, who have struggled to move west from their eastern stronghold of Benghazi in the past week, retook Ajdabiya today after entering the suburbs overnight, Al Jazeera television and the Benghazi-based Breniq newspaper reported. The advance came after the U.S. military yesterday said coalition warplanes nearly doubled the number of strike sorties against Qaddafiís forces in a seventh day of bombing.

The Libyan rebellion has evolved from the kind of popular uprising seen in Egypt and Tunisia into a civil war, sending oil prices up about 25 percent since it began last month, amid heightened concerns about Middle East crude supplies. Crude oil for May delivery fell 20 cents to settle at $105.40 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Syrian President Bashar Al- Assadís security forces engaged in deadly clashes with protesters in several cities as promises of new freedoms and pay increases failed to quiet dissent. Assad may reshuffle his Cabinet soon, Al Arabiya television reported today, citing people it didnít identify.

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