AL-QAWALISH, Libya - Libyan rebel fighters were digging into this village south of Tripoli on Thursday after losing it then taking it back in a see-saw battle that exposed the military frailties of rebel forces.
Rebel fighters took the village, a staging post on the way to the capital about 100 km (60 miles) north, a week ago, then they lost it to government troops on Wednesday morning, and by nightfall they were back in control.
"We came yesterday and we stayed here and we said we are not moving until the place is secure," said one rebel fighter who was manning a machine gun and gave his name as Tommy. "This mistake is not going to happen again. We're not going home."
Control of Al-Qawalish is strategically important because it allows the rebels to come down from their mountain stronghold and move towards the town of Garyan, which controls access to the main highway leading north to Tripoli.