(Reuters) - Libyan government forces launched fierce attacks on the western rebel stronghold of Zawiyah on Saturday, while in the east, rebels advanced on Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte.
Fighters in Zawiyah, just 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, repelled two attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces who used tanks and artillery. Dozens of rebels armed with rifles manned rooftops, watching nearby streets from behind piles of sandbags. Roads and side streets were barricaded with rebel checkpoints.
A doctor in Zawiyah said at least 30 people, mostly civilians, had been killed during fighting in the day, bringing to at least 60 the death toll from two days of battles.
Abu Akeel, a Zawiyah resident, told Reuters that government forces had shelled houses and fired on a mosque where people were taking shelter. Another resident said he saw more than 20 tanks advance across the main square during the second assault.
People opposed to Gaddafi's 41-year rule have been fighting his forces in Zawiyah for more than a week, after rebels took over large parts of eastern Libya in an uprising inspired by the overthrow of veteran rulers in Egypt and Tunisia this year.
This article was taken from Reuters.