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Dario Lopez-Mills, Associated Press
Libya's government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim speaks to the press at a hotel in Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. Ibrahim disputed rebel claims and media reports that rebels had reached the town of Zawiya, which is located around 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of the Libyan capital. Zawiya is a strategic city because it lies along the main supply line for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli.

ZAWIYA, Libya — Residents say Libyan rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi are battling inside Zawiya a day after opposition fighters entered the strategic western city.

An Associated Press reporter in Zawiya says pro-Gadhafi snipers are shooting at rebels from an overpass deep in the city. Sporadic loud booms can be heard echoing across Zawiya, and a column of heavy black smoke can be seen rising over the city's outskirts.

Zawiya is 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, Libya's capital, and has been a key target for rebels waging a new offensive launched from the mountains in the far west of Libya to topple Gadhafi's regime.

A group of some dozen men in Zawiya were greeting rebels with chants of "freedom, freedom" Sunday.