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Gaddafi forces capture key city

Muammar Gaddafi's regime has captured a key city near Tripoli after days of fierce fighting with rebels.

The battle for Zawiya has emerged as a key test in the government's ability to maintain its hold on the Libyan capital and surrounding areas.

The government had claimed victory on Wednesday, but the rebels who are seeking to oust Gaddafi said fighting was continuing.

An Associated Press reporter, who was escorted with other journalists into the city on Friday, said the main square that had been the centre of resistance is clearly in government control.

Tanks manned by Gaddafi loyalists are stationed in the middle of the square and supporters were rallying in the area. The nearby mosque has been destroyed.

Rebels are holding out in part of the strategic oil port of Ras Lanouf after fierce fighting with Gaddafi loyalists in central Libya.

The Libyan leader's forces took the residential part of Ras Lanouf in Thursday's battles, said Ibrahim Said, the deputy director of the hospital in the nearby city of Ajdabiya.

But he said rebels continue to hold the port's industrial areas and oil facilities.

Four dead and more than 40 wounded from the fighting were brought to Ajdabiya hospital.


From Belfast Telegraph