Rebels clash with Gaddafi troops south of Tripoli

July 13, 2011 13:31

AL-QAWALISH, Libya - Clashes broke out on Wednesday on the frontlines south of Libya's capital after advancing rebel fighters came under an ambush from troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, rebels said.

Rebel fighters seized control of the village of Al-Qawalish last week, and were planning to push on east to the town of Garyan, which controls access to the main highway leading north into the capital Tripoli, less than 100 km (60 miles) away.

One rebel fighter said the fighting started after a rebel unit tried to advance from Al-Qawalish. "We were moving forward and suddenly we were ambushed," said the fighter.

A Reuters team in the village heard small arms fire and shelling and could hear explosions from shells landing inside Al-Qawalish on its eastern edge.

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