BREGA, Libya - Libyan state television said on Thursday that government forces had cleared Ras Lanuf of "armed gangs", a reference to rebels, but rebel soldiers denied the eastern oil town had fallen to Muammar Gaddafi's troops.
Rebels near Ras Lanuf had been heavily bombarded earlier on Thursday and witnesses reported at least two tanks headed to the town. One rebel soldier told Reuters that government forces had entered the town and rebel forces had withdrawn several kms (miles) east. Two others denied the town had fallen.
State television also reported that a town much further east, Brega, had been cleared of rebels, but a Reuters correspondent in Brega said there was no sign of Gaddafi forces on the ground. Rebels said warplanes bombed Brega during the day.