Rebels launch push to consolidate Tripoli siege

By REUTERS
August 17, 2011 15:58

 
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ZAWIYAH - Libyan rebels launched an assault on an oil refinery on Wednesday to drive the last remaining troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi out of a city on Tripoli's outskirts and consolidate a siege of the capital.

After 41 years of supreme power, the 69-year-old Gaddafi is looking isolated, with reinvigorated rebel forces closing in on the capital from the west and south and cutting off its road links to the outside.

Rebels, aided by a NATO bombing campaign, have transformed the battle in the last few days by seizing most of the city of Zawiyah on Tripoli's western outskirts, as well as a town to the south, cutting Tripoli's two main supply routes.

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