Framework

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Rebels drive past a burning vehicle Wednesday as they give chase to Kadafi loyalist forces retreating from Port Brega.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A rebel soldier looks down the road at retreating Kadafi loyalists.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Rebels prepare to fire an antiaircraft gun against forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Armed revolutionaries rush to the front lines on Wednesday to fight forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Libyan rebels celebrate.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Shell casings litter the road to Port Brega, the site of heavy fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi on Wednesday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A Libyan rebel fighter retrieves a piece of shrapnel from a bomb crater in Port Brega.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A rebel keeps an AK-47 handy as he prays with other men preparing to take part in a fight against forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Revolutionary volunteers man a tank at the gates of Ajdabya on Wednesday. Forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi attacked the nearby town of Port Brega.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A Libyan rebel holding an AK-47 approaches a burning truck that had been used by fighters loyal to Moammar Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Hussein Malla / Associated Press

A protester kicks a poster of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi as it burns during a demonstration.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Kevin Frayer / Associated Press

Rebels ride on top of a commandeered tank.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

A rebel soldier runs while holding a pistol and a rocket-propelled grenade.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Libyan rebels celebrate after repulsing pro-Kadafi fighters in Port Brega, a key oil installation.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Hussein Malla / Associated Press

A Libyan rebel loads a rocket launcher during a battle against pro-Kadafi fighters.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Hussein Malla / Associated Press

Rebels pray on the road to Port Brega on the outskirts of Ajdabiya.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi smells flowers given to him by a supporter as he drives away in an electric golf cart after speaking in Tripoli, the capital.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ben Curtis / Associated Press

A masked youth displays his loyalty for Moammar Kadafi in Green Square.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Many shops in Tripoli's Old City are closed, in part due to a national holiday and in part due to continued unrest.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Among the few businesses open are luggage shops catering to thousands of foreign workers who are struggling to get out of the country.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

A Tunisian soldier distributes bread to Bangladeshi residents leaving Libya for Tunisia. The United Nations Refugee Agency has warned that the situation at the Libya-Tunisia border was reaching a "crisis point." According to the agency, some 100,000 people have fled the unrest in Libya over the last week, most of them to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mohamed Messara / EPA

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On the revolutionary road in Libya

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On the revolutionary road in Libya

Times staff photographer Luis Sinco is in Benghazi, Libya, covering the conflict. He filed this report about what he saw Wednesday:

I started the day watching a report on the BBC about an attack by forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi on the town of Port Brega, a strategic center for oil production that had been under the control of Libyan revolutionaries.

Times reporter Raja Abdulrahim and I immediately jumped into a taxi and headed west to Port Brega, which is about 125 miles from Benghazi. We’d visited the town just two days before to report a story and take photos about life in the westernmost section of revolutionary territory.

We arrived about 1 p.m. at a large gathering of revolutionaries who were staging a counterattack at the gates of Ajdabya. A line of men about a hundred yards long and three deep were praying. When they finished, many jumped into cars and wove their way through dozens of men lined up on each side of the highway, chanting and waving their arms, flags and weapons in the air.

Our taxi driver refused to go any farther, and we hitched a ride with a couple of revolutionary volunteers, following close behind the main convoy. We eventually pulled off the highway and took the coast road through the town of Port Brega, where the streets teemed with residents and armed men. All along the coast road, revolutionaries walked or drove toward the sound of heavy gunfire echoing in the distance.

High above, a fighter jet circled before dropping a bomb near the campus of a local university. We saw a large cloud of black smoke rising from the desert floor and waited about 30 minutes before pushing on. All around us, men armed with AK-47s talked excitedly while pointing their fingers into the distance.

I kept taking pictures and prayed that we wouldn’t draw fire.

For the next two hours, we alternately hitched more rides or walked before reaching the university, where all was quiet. We let the revolutionaries push about a half mile ahead before catching yet another ride to the far western edge of Port Brega, where several vehicles burned furiously beside the road.

At a nearby checkpoint, elated revolutionaries told us they had repelled the attack and Kadafi’s forces were on the run. As more men arrived at the site, an impromptu celebration broke out, with a lot yelling, chanting and random gunshots fired into the air. It was a crazy and chaotic scene. And it made great pictures.

As the sun started to set, we joined a convoy of revolutionaries giving chase to Kadafi’s forces, who were beating a hasty retreat west. They were beyond sight, but we followed at high speeds for about another 12 miles. At a small village down the road, the revolutionaries gave up their pursuit and began yet another victory celebration, with more yelling, chanting and shooting.

On the trip back, we saw many more celebratory scenes. The revolutionaries clearly were overjoyed at turning back the forces of the hated dictator. Many chanted over and over, “God is great!”

As we neared Port Brega, I saw a huge explosion about a mile ahead. Black smoke and dirt filled the air. We turned left to Port Brega and saw a large crater in the middle of the road that we had to take back to the city. We found out that a passing plane had dropped a bomb before continuing its flight westward. It occurred to me that if we’d been there just a few minutes earlier, that bomb would have landed right on top of us.

I asked our driver —- a baby-faced boy with close-cropped hair — if he realized just how close we’d come to being blown to bits. He spoke only Arabic and I tried to emphasize the point by making a small space between my thumb and forefinger. Yes, that close. Unimpressed, he looked at me, pointed skyward, and said: “God.”

Read the full story by David Zucchino, Borzou Daragahi and Raja Abdulrahim, “Kadafi loyalists, rebels fight for control of Libyan oil facility.”

5 Comments

  1. March 3, 2011, 2:03 am

    [...] http://framework.latimes.com/2011/03/02/kadafi-loyalists-rebels-fight-for-oil-plant-in-libya/#/0 This entry was posted in Résistance Libye. Bookmark the permalink. ← Libya’s Berbers join the revolution in fight to reclaim ancient identity LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  2. March 3, 2011, 8:14 am

  3. March 3, 2011, 9:02 pm

    Let obama withdraw his military tensions over libyans.the country may become violencious like dat of iraq.kadafi should be cool the citizen as public holds their power on their side.he should also withdraw the poor statements that sends signal to the oil being burned.

    By: Bishar khalif
  4. March 5, 2011, 9:56 am

    makes me want to become a war photographer

    By: JJim
  5. March 10, 2011, 11:12 am

    [...] On the revolutionary road in Libya [...]

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