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March 2, 2011

Rebels fight Gadhafi forces over Libyan oil port

BENGHAZI, Libya — Witnesses say government opponents are fighting forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi for control of a key oil installation and airstrip on the coast of rebel-held eastern Libya.

They said the oil facility in the town of Brega had earlier on Wednesday fallen in the hands of a pro-Gadhafi force that arrived in the area in a huge convoy from the regime stronghold city of Sirte to the west.

The witnesses spoke from the outskirts of Brega, 85 miles (140 kilometers) south of the main rebel-held city in the east, Benghazi. The sound of screaming warplanes and the crackle of heavy gunfire could be heard as the witnesses spoke to The Associated Press by phone.

They said some of the regime forces were surrounded by rebels.

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