France providing weapons to Libya rebels: report

Rebel fighters after heavy clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces west of Misrata, June 13, 2011.

From John Irish, Reuters:  France is providing weapons to Libyan rebels in the Western Mountains in an effort to help them push on to Muammar Gaddafi’s stronghold in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Citing unidentified sources, Le Figaro said France had parachuted "large amounts" of weapons, including rocket launchers, assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank missiles into the Jebel Nafusa region.

The decision to send arms without consulting its NATO partners was "because there was no other way to proceed," a senior source was quoted as saying. . . .

Le Figaro said it had seen a confidential map stamped by French intelligence services showing various areas in the mountains including Yafran and Nalut under the control of rebels where weapons could be sent.

Speaking after a meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and rebel chief Mahmoud Jibril, National Transitional Council Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told reporters on Tuesday it had not asked for any further military assistance. . . .

Rebels say they have been receiving weapons from Qatar in particular through their bastion in Benghazi in eastern Libya.  (photo: AP)

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