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Rebels' westward push stalled by Gaddafi forces

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Rebels' westward push stalled by Gaddafi forces


Amid fierce fighting in eastern Libya, rebel forces have been regrouping after being forced to flee from the town of Bin Jawad.

On the road back to Ras Lanuf some 30 kilometres away, they tried to reorganise as Gaddafi’s loyalists attacked with helicopters and planes.

Rebels had taken control of Bin Jawad, about 100 kilometres east of Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte, on Saturday.

They still hold Ras Lanuf, despite government claims to the contrary.

Journalist Francesca Cicardi in the town said the injured from the battle at Bin Jawad were continuing to arrive after Gaddafi’s forces took it back.

“According to these rebels’ accounts, there were snipers on the roofs shooting at everybody, at women and children in the street,” she said. “The rebels are arriving wounded but they still have their weapons and they’re making victory signs. Here in Ras Lanuf arms and men are being regrouped despite the repeated attacks by Gaddafi’s planes which, once again, have achieved nothing. The goal seems to be to strike fear, but despite that, the rebels are continuing to hammer out the message that they will get as far as Sirte and that they will finish with Gaddafi.”

Just outside Ras Lanuf, rebels showed off what they said was the wreckage of a Gaddafi warplane.

They claimed to have shot it down on Saturday using an anti-aircraft machine gun.

Journalists were taken to the scene and shown two bodies said to be the plane’s pilots.

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