BREAKING NEWS: Rebels flee Ras Lanuf under rain of rockets

AFP , Thursday 10 Mar 2011

Rebels on Thursday retreated east from the Libyan oil town of Ras Lanuf, packed into dozens of vehicles under rocket attack fire, AFP reporters said.

The vehicles streamed east from the town, which rebels had only captured from loyalists of Muammar Gaddafi last Friday, after hours of heavy shelling and rocket attacks that swept from the western outskirts of Ras Lanuf to the east.

Other groups of rebels appeared to stay in town, but dejected fighters in the exodus, several kilometres to the east, said they had been defeated as rockets exploded east of town and there was at least one air strike.

"We've been defeated. They are shelling and we are running away. That means that they're taking Ras Lanuf," said a rebel fighter, dressed in military fatigues who gave his name as Osama.

In the town centre, where at least four rockets struck earlier Thursday near the hospital and mosque, an AFP reporter asked one rebel with a machine gun if they were leaving.

He shook his machine gun saying: "Do you think I can bring down Grad missiles with this?"

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