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Rebels say they drove out Gadhafi forces

April 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Anti-government forces drove Moammar Gadhafi's troops to the edge of Misrata on Sunday, described a resident.

In the fighting, Gadhafi loyalists fired dozens of rockets at Misrata, despite claims by the Libyan government that the army has held its fire since Friday, said the resident, who wished to be anonymous.

At least 28 people have been killed and 85 wounded from the fighting in the city Saturday and Sunday, said a Misrata medical committee official.

Libyan officials said in the past two days that the military is pulling back in Misrata to enable tribal chiefs from the area to negotiate with the rebels.

Misrata, the only major rebel stronghold in Gadhafi-controlled western Libya, has become the most dramatic battleground in the Libyan uprising, which began in February after similar revolts in Tunisia and Egypt ousted longtime leaders. Fighting elsewhere in the country is at a stalemate, even with NATO airstrikes that began last month.

In the face of continued fighting, tribal leaders in Libya are trying to convince rebels in the city of Misrata to put down their weapons.

Libya's deputy foreign minister said the goal is to convince rebels to disarm within 48 hours.

If negotiations fail, tribal chiefs could send in their own armed supporters to fight them.

Rebels re-claimed victory over the city of Misrata on Friday after U.S. predator drones began aiding NATO-led military efforts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.