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Libya Rebels Say They Control Zliten

PTI 20 Aug 2011, 7:31:28 IST

Benghazi, Aug 20 : Libyan rebels said they seized control of Zliten from Muammar Gaddafi's forces on Friday , only hours after reporting they were in the centre of the town, 150 kilometres east of Tripoli.“Zliten is now under the control of our fighters, but the fighting is not finished,” the Information Centre For Misrata Military Council said.

“At 4:00 pm (1930 IST) our people informed us they had advanced to the Zliten bridge. They captured a tank and several vehicles that they used against the enemy,” the council said.

The claims could not be independently verified. At midday, the rebels had announced they were inside Zliten's town centre, after an offensive that began around 7:30 am (1000 IST).

“The battle began with an artillery bombardment on the positions of Gaddafi's forces, followed by a swift movement forward by rebels,” the rebels said.“Gaddafi forces have used tanks to try unsuccessfully to repel the rebels. There are dead and injured rebels,” it added.

Earlier, the insurgents reported to have pushed forward and seized positions “in the areas of Bazh, Gananat, the Ahamada and around Zliten hotel.”They also said they had advanced “to the south of Zliten” in an area called Sir Leslie, forcing Gaddafi loyalists to pull back.

“Between 40 and 50 Gaddafi forces were killed” in the fighting, while some 12 African mercenaries were captured, the statement said, adding that 40 insurgents were wounded, 10 of them seriously. (AFP