Nightly News | April 09, 2011
>>> libya. nato air strikes against government targets have stepped up over the last 24 hours . there were also new reports that at least 30 rebel fighters were killed on a day gadhafi made a rare public appearance. nbc's stephanie gosk is in benghazi with the latest for us. stephanie ?
>> reporter: good evening, lester. this is the closest gadhafi 's forces have come to benghazi since the air strikes began nearly three weeks ago. an estimated 10 to 15 pickup trucks packed with government troops rolled straight into town today. shelling on the road from ajdabia to benghazi sends the rebels on the run. caught by surprise again. they respond, but it's not an exact science . fighters struggled to get a rocket into position, moving the truck, even dropping a launcher, until finally firing off. the fighting began today on the western side of ajdabia. they broadcast a news reporter interviewing victorious government troops at the city's gates. in the center of town, outside the hospital it was a different scene. we're hearing gunfire on the other side of the hospital. the rebel forces say that gadhafi loyalists have actually taken a position there and they continue to gain ground. most of the patients were evacuated in the morning.
>> translator: we caught quite a few casualties. the shelling started at noon. then snipers came in followed by troops in pickup trucks .
>> reporter: nato launched sair strikes today to slow down gadhafi 's forces but the rebels want more.
>> ever since nato has taken over, they haven't been effective. when the american, british and french were in control it was much better. we're starting to doubt nato 's intentions here.
>> reporter: with his forces on the move in the east, gadhafi appeared on state tv. visiting a school, making sure to point out the date. it's the first time the libyan leader's face has been seen on tv in more than two weeks. the government also organized a trip for journalists to the embattled toub of misrata to prove it had won control of the western city. but it quickly became clear that the fight there continues. an army captain and a journalist were injured. in the east there is concern that gadhafi may be making a big push. late into the day, the battle continued, getting closer and closer to benghazi . there's still 100 miles and a lot of open desert between the fighting in benghazi , but we're hearing that people here are already growing nervous that some families are even packing up their stuff and getting ready to leave.
>> stephanie gosk in libya tonight, thank you.