The second Libyan rebel advance didn’t last very long. Sparked by the withdrawal of Qaddafi’s forces from Ajdabiya last weekend under devastating allied air strikes, and spurred on by the belief that they would somehow sweep westward to Qaddafi’s stronghold of Sirt, and on to Tripoli, the rebels chased their retreating foes on Monday to within fifty miles of Sirt. Then they were stopped in their tracks, hard, and began falling back again, as they had done so many times before.
By Tuesday morning, the rebels had backed up to the eastern outskirts of Bin Jawad. It was like “Groundhog Day”; a month ago, I had been in exactly the same spot, watching the rebels do exactly the same thing. After a lull in the pounding from Qaddafi’s artillery, the rebels shouted exultantly and surged forward into Bin Jawad.
Once they got beyond the town’s gate, the fighters looked uncertain; there was a tenuous air to their presence. A busload of civilian women appeared, apparently Bin Jawad’s wives and mothers being evacuated from the town by their still-unseen husbands and sons. They shouted to the fighters from the windows, “You are going to be attacked, may God be with you,” before they drove off.
Read full story here