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A bulldozer has destroyed the house of Gaddafi inside the Bab al-Aziziya compound [EPA]

Libya Live Blog

libya - Aug 21, 2011 - 04:36

Last modified: 21 Aug 2011 01:36

Amid intensive shelling Libya's rebels said on Saturday they had retreated from the industrial section of the strategic oil port of Brega, a day after capturing it from Gadaffi's military.

In an indication of the challenge still facing the rebels, military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Bani told reporters in Benghazi that his troops fell back after claiming control in the eastern oil port, losing the industrial section to Gadhafi's forces.

Brega has frequently changed hands throughout the conflict.

Bani also said rebels captured the city of Zlitan, around 140 km southeast of Tripoli, after more than two months of fighting.

"Zlitan is now completely liberated after a severe fight, and for the first time I can say we have control over it," Bani said.

Rebels also took control of the coastal city of Zawiya on Saturday, clearing a major hurdle in their march toward Gadaffi's remaining bastion, the capital of Tripoli, just 30 miles (50 kilometres) away.

The rebel leadership also commented on the defection of Abdel-Salam Jalloud, a top aide of Libyan leader Gadaffi.

A close associate of Gadaffi who took part in the 1969 coup that brought the Libyan ruler to power, Jalloud defected on Friday, leaving the Tunisian island of Djerba for Italy, according to a report from Tunisia's official TAP news agency.

While Bani played down the information Jalloud could provide the rebels he said "he is a Libyan citizen and he deserves to live with dignity and be free."