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 toMuammar Gaddafi killed four rebel fighters in a battle forcontrol of the strategic east Libyan town of Ajdabiyah, rebelssaid on Sunday. A Reuters witness near Ajdabiyah's eastern gate heardshooting and artillery fire and saw plumes of black smoke,suggesting Gaddafi's forces had pushed towards the center of thetown 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 arefighting with rebels. They have a presence inside," said a rebelat a checkpoint on Ajdabiyah's eastern fringes.
Insurgent Hassan Bosayna said eight Gaddafi fighters andfour rebels were killed in fighting on Saturday, with one of therebels shot in the forehead by a sniper.
Another rebel, Muftah, said: "There are Gaddafi forcesinside Ajdabiyah in sand-colored Land Cruisers and we knowthere are Gaddafi snipers in civilian clothing in the city aswell."
Rebels were firing rockets from pick-up trucks into thedesert on the outskirts of the town in a possible attempt tostop any flanking maneuver by Gaddafi loyalists.
One had clambered atop a telephone mast and was peeringtowards the town through binoculars.
The mostly untrained rebels have tried to reorganize andre-equip but were unable to hold their ground last week againstGaddafi's better-armed forces in the oil terminal of Brega, westof Ajdabiyah.
Ajdabiyah is the last major town on the Mediterraneancoastal road before the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to thenorth and the major oil terminal of Tobruk further east.