Libyan rebels say they have captured western mountain town

NALUT - Libyan rebels said onThursday they had captured the town of Ghezaia in the westernmountains from Muammar Gaddafi's forces, hours after launching amilitary offensive.

Reuters could not confirm the report as rebels said the areaaround Ghezaia could be mined. But looking through binocularsfrom a rebel-held ridge near Nalut, reporters could see no signof Gaddafi's forces in the town.

"Gaddafi's forces left the areas when the attack started,"said rebel fighter Ali Shalback. "They fled towards the Tunisianborder and other areas. We don't know where they are but thereare pockets of Gaddafi's forces in the area.

Another fighter, 20-year-old Mahmoud Salem, said he had beeninto Ghezaia earlier and Gaddafi's soldiers had gone. "They fledin about 40 white vehicles when we started to attack with tanksand AK-47s. They ransacked some houses and left behind somemissiles, AK-47s and ammunition.