Zawiyah fighter says rebels retake main square

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 10:59 AM
Zawiyah fighter says rebels retake main square

TUNIS (Reuters) - A fighter in Zawiyah said rebels had retaken the main square of the western city on Wednesday after pro-Gaddafi forces took control of it earlier in the day but later pulled back following a rebel counter-attack.

The fighter named Ibrahim told Reuters the government had brought in supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for a rally there and they were now on the main road.

"We have pushed (pro-Gaddafi forces) out and we are back in the square now," Ibrahim said by telephone. "They are one km away now. Thanks to Allah we are sitting in the square now."

The civilians, who were not from Zawiyah, had chanted pro-Gaddafi slogans, he said. Libyan television had earlier shown a loyalist crowd in the city.

"There is no fighting at the moment, but if the fighting begins, those civilians will be caught between the fire," he said, adding that the Gaddafi forces had left a trail of destruction on their way into Zawiyah.

"This is a death or life battle for us, we have nothing to do now but to fight him (Gaddafi)," Ibrahim said.

He added: "We are running out of food and baby milk. This is a disaster for us. As adults we can bear it without food but babies do not understand and they are crying."

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny, writing by Tom Heneghan)