Libyan rebels fight for control of border road

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“Mohammed was very polite, asked for a cigarette and water and looked defeated,” said Addala.

Senoussi’s father is Abdullah al-Senoussi, a top aide to Gadhafi and intelligence chief.

Rebels claimed victory over the suburb of Qasr bin Ghashir, near Tripoli’s airport, Saturday after an overnight battle. Residents celebrated by firing guns and anti-aircraft weapons into the air and beating portraits of the toppled leader with their shoes. Regime troops had been shelling the airport from the area.

“You can say that bin Ghashir has been liberated from Gadhafi soldiers,” said Omar al-Ghuzayl, a 45-year-old rebel field commander now in charge of forces at Tripoli’s airport. “We’ve been able to push them completely outside Tripoli.”

The celebration reflected the rebels’ optimism after days of fierce fighting in the capital, which Shammam said is largely under rebel control, except for small pockets of resistance.

While fighting has died down in the city, life remains very difficult. Much of the capital is without electricity and water. Streets are strewn with torched cars and stinking garbage. Corpses crowd abandoned hospitals. Stores are closed. Bombed planes sit on the Tripoli’s airport’s tarmac.

Looking toward reconciliation efforts, Shammam also reiterated Saturday that those who worked in the Gadhafi regime but were not involved in killing or oppressing regime critics would be able to work in the new administration.

In the western city of Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, a manager for the key oil refinery there said officials hoped to have it operational soon.

Restarting the rebel-held refinery, which was shut down after Libya’s rebellion flared, should help ease skyrocketing fuel prices.

Mohammed Aziz, a longtime operations manager, said it should be working by Monday.

In Tripoli, the cost of a 20-liter (about five-gallon) can of gas has jumped to about 120 dinars ($100) — 28 times the price before fighting broke.


Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Tripoli and Rami al-Shaheibi in Benghazi contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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