Rebel fighters on Wednesday shouted slogans at the funeral in Benghazi of seven comrades killed in Brega on Tuesday.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
By Charles Levinson July 21, 2011
ZINTAN, Libya—Rebel fighters have penetrated Libya's southwest desert and pulled within 80 miles of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's southern stronghold, opening a new front and suggesting the strongman's grip is slipping even in areas believed firmly in his control.
The rebels captured a small village south of Sebha on Monday. The fall of Sebha, one of Col. Gadhafi's three regional power centers, would be a huge symbolic and strategic blow.
The city of 130,000 is a logistics hub for the regime, channeling food, fuel and other war supplies northward from southern farmlands and neighboring Algeria, Chad and Niger, said rebel leaders.
With the latest offensive, rebels have now made progress on every front of the war.
Despite the advance, the force threatening Sebha is hundreds of miles south of Tripoli and poses no direct threat to the capital, where Col. Gadhafi and his family are still clinging to power.