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Under-Fire NATO Vows to Protect Libya Civilians

NATO, accused of mission failure by Libyan rebels, admitted Wednesday it has to be "particularly careful" with its air strikes as government troops are using civilians as human shields, but vowed to do everything to protect civilians in Misrata.

France pledged to open a sea corridor to the besieged Mediterranean port and rebels played down losing considerable ground to government forces as just the usual stakes in desert warfare.

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Gadhafi Sends Message to Obama

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday sent a message to U.S. President Barack Obama, following the withdrawal of American warplanes from Libya, the official Libyan news agency JANA said.

"The leader of the revolution (Gadhafi) sent on Wednesday a message to U.S. President Barack Obama after the United States withdrew from the aggressive, colonialist coalition crusading against Libya," said the agency without specifying the contents of the message.

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Scores Missing after Libya Refugee Boat Capsizes

Scores of people were missing at sea on Wednesday after a tiny boat carrying more than 200 African migrants fleeing Libya capsized in the night amid three-meter-high waves, officials said.

Coast guard spokesman Vittorio Alessandro told Agence France Presse from the southern Italian island of Lampedusa that 48 survivors had been rescued and a helicopter crew aiding the high-seas rescue operation had spotted some 20 bodies near the boat.

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NATO Says 30% of Libyan Military Destroyed as Rebels Pushed Back

Libya's government said Tuesday it is ready to negotiate reforms but only provided Moammar Gadhafi is not forced out, as loyalist troops pushed rebel fighters back from the key oil port of Brega.

NATO-led air strikes have destroyed 30 percent of the regime's military capacity since the U.N.-backed bombing campaign started on March 19, an alliance commander said, even as the rebels suffered their first significant loss of territory in almost a week.

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EU Says Libyan Oil Fair Game as Long as Gadhafi Doesn't Profit

The European Union said Tuesday that the sale of Libyan oil is fair game as long as Western pariah leader Moammer Gadhafi does not profit from exports.

"If revenues don't reach the Gadhafi regime, then we have no issue with commercial dealings in Libyan oil and gas and they should be regulated by normal trade practices," said Michael Mann, spokesman for the European Union's chief diplomat, English baroness Catherine Ashton.

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Brega Battle Rages as Another Gadhafi Man Quits

The oil town of Brega saw heavy fighting on Sunday as rebel forces advanced only to fall back again after being ambushed by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, who was hit by another defection.

Former foreign minister and U.N. General Assembly president Ali Treiki became the latest official to abandon Gadhafi, after the flight to Britain of foreign minister and regime stalwart Moussa Koussa earlier in the week.

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'Civilians among 13 Dead' in Coalition Raid East of Libya’s Brega

A coalition air raid late on Friday killed 13 people, four of them civilians, some 15 kilometers (10 miles) east of the battleground Libyan oil town of Brega, a rebel civilian official told Agence France Presse.

The four civilians comprised an ambulance driver and three medical students from the second city of Benghazi, who were part of a rebel convoy of five or six vehicles, said Issa Khamis, liaison officer for the rebels' transitional government in the town of Ajdabiya, east of Brega.

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Gadhafi: West Has Started Something it Cannot Control

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi warned on Thursday that the West has started something in Libya which it cannot control, the state news agency JANA reported.

"They have started something dangerous, something they cannot control. It will be out of their control no matter what methods of destruction they have at their disposal," Gadhafi said.

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Qatar Says Arab Inaction in Libya Led to West Strikes

The West intervened in Libya after the Arab League, many of whose members also face revolts, failed to live up to its duty to protect civilians, Qatar's emir said in an interview broadcast on Thursday.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told Al-Jazeera television, based in Doha, he hoped the 22-member organization would now step up and meet its responsibility "amidst the ongoing changes" sweeping the region.

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France Not Planning to Arm Libya Rebels

France is not planning to arm rebels fighting to oust Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi because such a move is not compatible with a U.N. resolution on the conflict, France's defense minister said Thursday.

"Such assistance is not on the agenda because it is not compatible with resolution 1973," the U.N. Security Council Resolution that authorized U.N. members to intervene to protect civilians, minister Gerard Longuet told reporters.

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