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July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Rebels in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata said they captured a village on the outskirts of the government-held town of Zlitan after three days of fighting.
Rebel forces entered the village, Souk Tulet, where they were “welcomed by the people,” Radio Misrata reporter Nidal Al Hassan reported today. The claim could not be independently confirmed because foreign journalists have been blocked from visiting frontline areas around Misrata.
The sound of shells exploding every few seconds was heard today for several hours in Misrata, coming from the direction of the western front. Zlitan lies about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Misrata along the highway to Tripoli, and rebel forces have launched unsuccessful attacks against it for the past six weeks.
Warplanes from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization carried out strikes July 6 on positions held by Qaddafi loyalists in the central oil town of Brega, including what it identified as refueling equipment. The strike on infrastructure related to Libya’s oil assets was the first of its kind, an alliance official who declined to be identified according to NATO policy said today from Naples, Italy.
A battalion of 500 fighters arrived in Misrata from other parts of rebel-held Libya, boosting the rebel brigades in the city, said a spokesman for the rebel force, Ibrahim Betalmal.
Six rebel fighters died and more than 30 people were wounded, some of them civilians, by rockets fired from government lines into eastern parts of the city, Misrata’s Hikma hospital said today.
--With assistance from Caroline Alexander in London. Editors: Philip Sanders, Heather Langan
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Stephen in Misrata at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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