Babylon & Beyond

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LIBYA: Rebels claim to have seized key oil city

March 4, 2011 | 11:40 am

Raslanuf Libyan rebel leaders claimed Friday to have taken control of Ras Lanuf, a city near the center of the country's coast that is home to Libya's largest oil refinery and one of its main tanker terminals, the Al Arabiya network reported. Opposition leaders told the network that they had forced soldiers loyal to longtime Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi out of the city.

"We have taken Ras Lanuf 100%; Kadafi's forces have all left," rebel soldier Hafez Ibrahim told Reuters from inside the town.

Rajab Zawawei spoke with Reuters by telephone Friday afternoon from Ras Lanuf airport, insisting, "We have taken Ras Lanuf 100%. We took it an hour ago."

However, fighting continued there Friday, Al Arabiya reported.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Anti-government forces assemble in Brega before advancing towards Ras Lanuf on Friday. Credit: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA