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Reports: Libya Rebels Capture Misurata Airport


A rebel is carried away after being wounded in fighting near Misurata airport in Libya.

A rebel is carried away after being wounded in fighting near Misurata airport in Libya.

Libyan rebels have reportedly captured Misurata airport after a fierce battle with Muammar Qaddafi's forces, in a first significant breakthrough after weeks of fighting.

Media reports say the airport of Libya's third city, which had been besieged for almost two months by Qaddafi's forces, fell to the rebels on May 11 after overnight fighting.

The rebels celebrated the victory by cheering in the streets and setting fire to tanks left behind by Qaddafi troops.

Rights groups have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in the coastal city of half a million people, who have been facing acute shortages of food and medical supplies.

The city had been isolated from the outside world by loyalists, with the port being the only route in or out of the city.

In the capital, Tripoli, witnesses said explosions rocked the east of the city for almost one hour on May 11 as jets flew overhead.

The European Union, meanwhile, has announced that it plans to open an office in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi to facilitate assistance to the rebel authorities based there.

compiled from agency reports
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