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.