Libya unrest heading into civil war

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Tripoli (Libya), Mar. 2: Libya appears to be heading into a civil war with armed anti-government rebels and forces loyal to regime leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi battling viciously and violently for control of towns near national capital Tripoli on the 16th day of fighting.

Despite rebels' efforts to ward off foreign aid, the international community has stepped in to isolate Gaddafi. Tobruk is now in the hands of the protesters.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has confirmed that he has ordered two ships into the Mediterranean, including the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, and he is sending 400 Marines to the vessel to replace some troops that left recently for Afghanistan.

The European Union and the United States are both contemplating the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, has warned Western forces not to take military action against Libya and said the country is prepared to defend itself against foreign intervention.

Facing an unprecedented challenge to his 41-year rule, Gaddafi has launched a bloody crackdown against the opposition and the people opposed to his regime, Fox News reports. At least 228 people have been killed, and 1,932 wounded so far.

The Libyan regime has retaken at least two towns, including the strategically-located town of Gharyan, and threatened to take a third, while rebels repulsed attacks on three other key areas-Misrata to the east, Zawiya to the west, and the mountain town of Zintan to the south of the capital.

Gaddafi supporters have said they are also in control of the city of Sabratha, located west of Tripoli.

ANI

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