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Gadhafi Loyalists Take Town Near Tripoli

Uprising marks most serious security challenge yet for Libya
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2012 2:04 PM CST

(Newser) – The Libyan war may not be over after all; fighters loyal to the old regime seized the town of Bani Walid yesterday, hoisting the green flag of Moammar Gadhafi's Libya after an eight-hour battle with the revolutionary brigade that had been holding the city. "They control the town now. They are roaming the town," one fighter from that brigade tells Reuters. The Libyan air force says it's mobilizing war planes to head to the city, and the military council says ground troops are on stand-by.

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When news of the attack broke, coordinated drive-by shootings broke out in Benghazi and Tripoli, according to an AP reporter who was in the Benghazi operations room at the time. Bani Walid is just 90 miles from Tripoli, and was one of the last towns to fall to rebels in the first place. The head of the city's military council says the rebel "May 28 Brigade" only ever had superficial control of the city—"99% of Bani Walid people are Gadhafi loyalists." (Read more Bani Walid stories.)

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