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Rebel fighters in western Libya have advanced to within 25 kilometers of the coastal city of Zawiyah after fierce fighting with government forces, reports say.

The rebels used antitank guns to advance 7 kilometers.

A rebel spokesman said rebel forces have also seized the mountain town of Gharyan, a strategic gateway 80 kilometers south of the capital.

Rebels have launched a major new offensive from the Nafusa Mountains, trying to move into the coastal plain west of Tripoli.

In the east of the country, hospital workers said at least 21 rebels and government soldiers were killed in fighting for the oil terminal of Brega over the past two days.

compiled from agency reports

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