Libyan Rebels turned out to be Fast Learners

Libya—Tripoli Street, once the bustling commercial avenue leading to this city's center, was littered Monday with the burnt shells of government tanks and armored vehicles, a river of rubble and bombed-out storefronts.

It is the lone point in Misrata where the forces of Col. Moammar Gadhafi have made deep inroads, but it is also where they have encountered the most tenacious resistance.

From the cramped side streets, rebel fighters have swarmed the regime's tanks and armor. and defeated tank columns with rocket-propelled grenades, homemade Molotov cocktails and small bombs.

""At first we took a lot of losses, but then we started to learn,"" said Fawzi Mohammed, a 40-year-old furniture salesman who owned three stores here before he joined the uprising in February.

As he spoke, rebels darted into the street to crouch behind sand berms and fire machine guns at an eight-story office building occupied by Col. Gadhafi's forces.

Mr. Mohammed gestured to the Russian-made FN rifle slung over his shoulder. ""Two months ago, I couldn't have told you what kind of gun this was,"" he said. Like Mr. Mohammed, many rebels appear to have taken up arms for the first time over the past two months, and are outmatched by the regime's artillery barrages, tanks, cluster bombs and other heavy armaments.

But they have fended off Col. Gadhafi's forces for more than 50 days in the western city, Libya's third-largest and one of its most fiercely contested.

Col. Gadhafi's forces are laying siege to this city along three main axes, shifting the attack each day. They occupied most of Tripoli Street for nearly a month, but rebel fighters have since beaten them back.
Wall Street Journal