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Fierce fight still raging over Libya

Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched a fierce counter-attack Thursday on rebels holding towns near the capital — and the United States did not rule out military action in response to the Libyan crackdown.

Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched a fierce counter-attack Thursday on rebels holding towns near the capital — and the United States did not rule out military action in response to the Libyan crackdown.

The opposition was already in control of major centers in the east, including the regional capital Benghazi, and reports that the towns of Misrata and Zuara in the west had also fallen brought the tide of rebellion closer to Gaddafi’s power base.

Gun battles in Zawiyah, an oil terminal 30 miles from the capital, left 23 people dead, a Libyan newspaper said. Al Jazeera quoted residents putting the toll at 100 there.

France’s top human rights official said up to 2,000 people might have died so far in the uprising.

As concerns of further unrest across the Arab world drove oil prices higher, foreign governments were struggling to find a common response.

 
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