AL-QAWALISH - Libyan rebel fighters took control of the village of Al-Qawalish, south-east of Tripoli, on Wednesday after a six-hour battle with government forces, a Reuters reporter in the village said.

Scores of rebel fighters poured into the village through an abandoned government checkpoint, firing their rifles into the air in celebration and shouting "Allahu Akbar!"

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There was evidence of a hurried withdrawal by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Near the checkpoint there were collapsed tents, half-eaten bread as well as a van and an electricity transformer station which were both on fire, the reporter said.


Gaddafi is still holding on to power, five months into a rebellion against his 41-year rule and despite a NATO bombing campaign and an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for crimes against humanity.

"As a peaceful solution, we offered that he can resign and order his soldiers to withdraw from their barracks and positions, and then he can decide either to stay in Libya or abroad," rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil told Reuters in an interview.

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