Gaddafi forces enter key oil port

Brega - Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have entered the oil port of Ras Lanuf in the east of the country and are fighting for control of the town, rebels said on Friday.

Contacted by Reuters in the early hours by telephone from Brega to the east, rebel fighter Ibrahim al-Alwani said he and comrades still in Ras Lanuf had seen government troops in the town centre.

"I saw maybe 150 men and three tanks," he said. "I can hear clashes."

Mohammed al-Mughrabi, who described himself as a spokesperson for the rebels but declined to give his exact location, said government troops had landed by boat near the Fadeel hotel in Ras Lanuf, where clashes were in progress.

"Four boats carrying 40 to 50 men each landed there. We are fighting them right now," he said.

A fighter in Brega, who declined to be identified, said comrades in Ras Lanuf reported government forces had entered by boat and in tanks.

On Thursday, government warplanes and gunboats bombarded rebel positions in Ras Lanuf, more than 500km east of Gaddafi's stronghold.

Rebels also reported an air strike on Brega, another oil port 90km to the east, on Thursday.

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