Clashes in Libya


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Map highlighting areas where clashes are taking place

Clashes between rebels and Gaddafi loyalists have occurred at a number of locations along the coast. The rebels are generally poorly organised and not as well armed as the Gaddafi military formations. However, they have kept up their struggle despite some setbacks.

Benghazi

19 March: Reports from Benghazi say forces loyal to Col Gaddafi are bombarding the city with rockets and heavy artillery. Reliable sources spoke of a pattern of loud explosions consistent with bombardment from tanks. Earlier, a fighter aircraft crashed inside the city, though it was unclear what had brought it down.

Hundreds of Benghazi residents have started to flee eastward, the AFP news agency reports, and information is scarce as some journalists have left the area for Tobruk, one of the easternmost towns, near the Libyan border with Egypt.

Pro-Gaddafi troops launched their first air raids on the rebel stronghold on Thursday. Benghazi is Libya's second city and in effect the rebel headquarters. Civilians set up the Transitional National Council there and have declared it the sole representative of the country.

Ajdabiya

19 March: Fighting raged around the disputed town of Ajdabiya on Friday, but rebels appeared to be holding out despite advances by government forces. Rebel leaders said that forces loyal to Col Gaddafi were hemming in the town on three sides, and shelling small villages on its outskirts. At least 30 people are said to have been killed in recent days and scores wounded. Many rebels have fled, but others have deployed heavy weapons and at least one fighter jet to push back government troops.

Ajdabiya is the last settlement of any size in the east on the road to Benghazi.

Misrata

19 March: Misrata - Libya's third-largest city and the last held by rebels in the west - has come under sustained assault despite the ceasefire announcement, residents say. Forces loyal to Col Gaddafi were firing artillery shells into the city on Saturday and water supplies were still cut off, a resident told Reuters news agency. Col Gaddafi's snipers were on rooftops and his forces were searching homes for rebels, a doctor told the Associated Press. He said he had counted 25 deaths at his hospital since Friday morning.

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