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“The ambition and precision of our strikes has not changed. The facts speak for themselves,” Ms. Romero said in Brussels.

Rebels, meanwhile, were trying to sharpen their front-line forces.

Former Libyan military officers who have joined the opposition were trying to keep untrained fighters from advancing from the eastern gateway city of Ajdabiya toward Brega, but that was causing tensions within the rebel ranks.

“We only allow the people who have training to pass,” said Walid al-Obeidi, a 25-year-old from nearby Benghazi who was a private in the Libyan army before defecting and was manning a checkpoint on the western outskirts of Ajdabiya.

Trained rebels flew through the checkpoints in pickups mounted with anti-aircraft weapons. One rebel in uniform got out with several grenades and military medals hanging from his vest and a Kalashnikov rifle flung across his shoulder. Others gathered around him, chanting, “God, Libya and freedom!”

But a scuffle broke out at the when one of the untrained fighters tried to go through toward the front line.

“Kill me here if you don’t want to let me in. Let me in. I am trained to use weapons and mortars. My friends are there. Let me in,” he said, refusing to give his name to reporters. Guards in camouflage uniforms prevented him from passing while others tried to calm things down.

In another incident, a pickup truck carrying a group of ragtag rebels tried to go around the gate, but a rebel army officer fired warning shots in the air, then near the truck’s tires to stop it.

Rebels who were not allowed to advance sat around, chanting anti-Gadhafi songs and clapping.

Raib bin Aruz, a 23-year-old student from the coastal town of Darna, said he hoped they would be allowed to go to the front in the afternoon, after an expected airstrike.

Saeed Imbarak, 43, a businessman, said he wanted to fight but didn’t have a weapon.

“Gadhafi has weapons, but we don’t have enough. The Libyan people need more support from NATO. If we don’t get it we expect a lot of massacres from Gadhafi. We expect him to take over all of Libya and to massacre all of us,” he said.

In a step for the rebels toward getting more money for weapons and other needs, a Liberian-flagged oil tanker left the eastern port of Tobruk after loading up the rebels’ first shipment of oil for export in nearly three weeks as part of a deal with Qatar.

The tanker can carry 1 million barrels of oil, less than the 1.6 million barrels Libya produced every day on average before the crisis.

Associated Press writers Sebastian Abbot in Ajbadiya, Libya; Jenny Barchfield in Paris; and Slobodan Lekic in Brussels contributed to this report.