Gaddafi forces push Libya rebels into eastern town

Four rebel fighters are killed as Gaddafi loyalists push battle eastward toward crucial rebel stronghold of Ajdabiyah.

Libra rebels 311 Reuters (photo credit: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal )
Libra rebels 311 Reuters
(photo credit: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal )
AJDABIYAH, Libya, - Forces loyal to
Muammar Gaddafi killed four rebel fighters in a battle for
control of the strategic east Libyan town of Ajdabiyah, rebels
said on Sunday. A Reuters witness near Ajdabiyah's eastern gate heard
shooting and artillery fire and saw plumes of black smoke,
suggesting Gaddafi's forces had pushed towards the center of the
town that is a gateway to the rebel-held east.
A wounded fighter was hauled bleeding into an ambulance.
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"There is resistance inside the city. Gaddafi forces are
fighting with rebels. They have a presence inside," said a rebel
at a checkpoint on Ajdabiyah's eastern fringes.
Insurgent Hassan Bosayna said eight Gaddafi fighters and
four rebels were killed in fighting on Saturday, with one of the
rebels shot in the forehead by a sniper.
Another rebel, Muftah, said: "There are Gaddafi forces
inside Ajdabiyah in sand-colored Land Cruisers and we know
there are Gaddafi snipers in civilian clothing in the city as
Rebels were firing rockets from pick-up trucks into the
desert on the outskirts of the town in a possible attempt to
stop any flanking maneuver by Gaddafi loyalists.
One had clambered atop a telephone mast and was peering
towards the town through binoculars.
The mostly untrained rebels have tried to reorganize and
re-equip but were unable to hold their ground last week against
Gaddafi's better-armed forces in the oil terminal of Brega, west
of Ajdabiyah.
Ajdabiyah is the last major town on the Mediterranean
coastal road before the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to the
north and the major oil terminal of Tobruk further east.