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Libya

Libyan rebels retake key towns of Ajdabiya, Brega

Reuters

Libyan rebels recaptured the strategic oil town of Ajdabiya on Saturday, and claim to have taken Brega, after a barrage of Western air strikes ousted forces loyal to leader Moamer Kadhafi. Rebels are still pushing west, and have Ras Lanuf in sight.

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Defensive positions previously held by pro-Kadhafi forces stood deserted on Saturday morning as jubilant rebels moved into the town.

On Thursday and Friday, coalition warplanes struck Kadhafi's forces in Ajdabiya, boosting rebel efforts to recapture the city.

Ajdabiya is the first town to have fallen back into rebel hands since the strikes began on 19 March. Its residents have accused Kadhafi loyalists of brutalising the population before they were forced out.

Rebels on Saturday hailed the fall of Ajdabiya and Brega as the first steps towards recapturing several eastern towns – notably Ras Lanuf.

Kadhafi's forces are said to be on the retreat, at Al-Bisher, about 30 kilometres west of Brega.

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