US, Egypt providing military training to Libya rebels

US and Egyptian special forces are providing military training to rebels in Libya, according to Al Jazeera broadcaster on Saturday.

The report by the Qatar-based broadcaster quoted an unnamed rebel source who described how he had received military training at a clandestine facility in eastern Libya, the stronghold of the rebel forces.

The source told Al Jazeera that rebels received a shipment of Katyusha rockets via Egypt, and that American and Egyptian special forces had come to Libya to instruct in the use of the new state-of- the art missiles.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that the CIA and British intelligence had deployed covert operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and initiate contacts with rebels seeking to oust leader Moamer Gaddafi. The report cited unnamed US and British officials.

The US administration has said that no decisions have been made on whether to arm the rebels, and that Washington has very little insight into the ultimate agenda of the Libyan opposition.

US President Barack Obama has said that US ground troops would not be involved in the ongoing military campaign by the international coalition to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone under a UN mandate.

But he has not ruled out providing weapons to the rebels, whose identities are still not clear, US officials point out.

NATO formally took command of the international intervention on Wednesday, after the US led the initial 10-day air campaign.

[Source: Middle East News, Washington, 03Apr11]

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