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Libyan rebels fight for control of border road
Libyan rebels fight for control of Tunisia-Tripoli road to clear the way for vital supplies
By The Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) ' Libyan rebels fought for control of a major supply road to the capital Saturday after seizing a border crossing with Tunisia ' strengthening their hold on the oil-rich country as they hunt for Moammar Gadhafi.

Clearing the road from the Tunisian border to Tripoli would help ease growing shortages of fuel and food, particularly in the battle-scarred capital. Mahmoud Shammam, information minister in the rebels' interim government, said the rebels already control most of the road, but that regime fighters are shelling it in the area of the city of Zwara, west of Tripoli.

"We hope to be able to control the road today," he told reporters in Tripoli.

Rebel fighters have taken control of the Tunisian-Libyan crossing known as Ras Ajdir, the gateway to the main road to Tripoli, said Shammam and rebels in the area.

In Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, one of the regime's remaining bastions, negotiations are continuing for a peaceful surrender of regime loyalists, Shammam said. "We don't want more bloodshed, and we had a very good response," he said, adding that he hoped the standoff would be resolved very soon.

The hunt for Gadhafi is continuing, but will not delay efforts to set up a new administration, he said.

"Gadhafi for us is finished," he said. "He has escaped, he is running from place to place. Of course, we want to get Gadhafi. We are following him. We are going to find him, but we are not going to wait for everything to find Gadhafi and his son."

The Egyptian news agency MENA, quoting unidentified rebel fighters, reported from Tripoli that six armored Mercedes sedans have crossed the border at the southwestern Libyan town of Ghadamis into Algeria.

The report said the cars could be carrying figures of the Gadhafi regime and his sons. Rebels in the area were unable to pursue the cars because they don't have ammunition or the necessary equipment, MENA said. The report could not be independently confirmed.

In Tripoli, the commander of a brigade of regime fighters and son of Libya's intelligence chief asked for treatment of 20 of his men at the city's Al-Afia hospital, said a physician there, Fawzi Addala.

The brigade of Mohammed Senoussi had been shelling Tripoli's airport from a nearby camp earlier this week, but had to flee when they were pushed out by rebels. The doctor said the younger Senoussi looked tired, and that some of the regime fighters smoked hash and asked for medication to keep them awake.

Senoussi's father is Abdullah al-Senoussi, a top aide to Gadhafi and intelligence chief.

Rebels claimed victory over the suburb of Qasr bin Ghashir, near Tripoli's airport, Saturday after an overnight battle. Residents celebrated by firing guns and anti-aircraft weapons into the air and beating portraits of the toppled leader with their shoes. Regime troops had been shelling the airport from the area.

"You can say that bin Ghashir has been liberated from Gadhafi soldiers," said Omar al-Ghuzayl, a 45-year-old rebel field commander now in charge of forces at Tripoli's airport. "We've been able to push them completely outside Tripoli."

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