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Gaddafi forces bomb eastern town

A town in the rebel-held east of Libya has come under air attack and forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi have retaken a nearby oil facility.

Two planes bombed the eastern part of the town of Ajdabiya on Wednesday and pro-Gaddafi forces were advancing on the town, some 470 miles east of the capital Tripoli.

Forces loyal to Col Gaddafi also retook control of an oil installation in the eastern town of Brega, south-west of Ajdabiya, according to Ahmed Jerksi, manager of the Sirte oil company which runs the facility.

Meanwhile, two US warships have entered the Suez Canal on their way to the Mediterranean, moving closer to the Libyan coast after orders from US defence secretary Robert Gates.

Amphibious assault ships USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce, entered the canal from the Red Sea. USS Kearsarge is carrying 42 helicopters.

Mr Gates said that he had ordered two ships into the Mediterranean and was sending 400 marines to the vessels to replace troops that left recently for Afghanistan.

But Mr Gates said that any military action in the north African country must be carefully considered because it would have broad consequences for the region and the US military, affecting even the effort in Afghanistan.

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