Gadhafi Forces Attack Oil Refinery, Killing 17

Counter-Offensive Targets One of Libya's Few Undamaged Refineries

In the first major regime counter-offensive in over a week, forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi attacked a rebel-held oil refinery in Ras Lanuf today, one of the few refineries which escaped NATO bombardment during the civil war.

The loyalist forces struck early in the morning and a large number of hand grenades were littering the area after a gunbattle, which local doctors say left at least 17 people dead.

The attack comes as rebel forces attempt to conquer the town of Bani Walid, one of the last loyalist towns in the nation. Rebels reported heavy resistance in the town today, the fourth day since they began their invasion.

Increasingly, the focus of the rebels is forming a new post-Gadhafi regime, with NTC leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil today vowing to see a new government based on sharia law take the place of the Gadhafi forces.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.