Libyan Rebels Claim Western Town

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TRIPOLI, Libya, Aug. 7 (UPI) — Libyan rebels claimed victory over government forces after a heavy weekend battle for the western town of Bir al-Ghanam, 50 miles from Tripoli.

Soldiers loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi flanked the town from three sides and exchanged rocket fire with the rebels for five hours, CNN reported Sunday.

Medical staff in the town said eight rebels were killed and scores of others were injured, but there was no casualty report from the military.

One rebel told CNN the next objective was to storm Tripoli and end Gadhafi’s 42 years of power.

In the capital, residents are feeling the effects of the NATO air and sea blockade, the broadcaster said. Some areas go days without electricity and those living in high-rise buildings have no water either as the electric pumps are idle.

Gadhafi loyalists claim NATO has targeted the electrical grid to strangle the city, although military officials maintain only Libyan military facilities are being hit.

The once significant oil exporting country also has a shortage of gas in Tripoli, where drivers can wait days and pay about $13 per gallon, CNN said.

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