Benghazi: Libyan rebels on Friday claimed advances around the western town of Zliten, saying they had gained ground and inflicted losses on the forces of strongman Muammar al-Gaddafi.
"There has been fighting near the centre of Zliten and further progress made by the Thwar (rebels)," yesterday, said a statement from the Information Centre For Misrata Military Council.
According to the rebels, during the fighting they pushed forward and seized positions "in the areas of Bazh, Gananat, the Ahamada and around Zliten hotel."
The rebels also said, they had advanced "to the south of Zliten" in an area called Sir Leslie, forcing Gaddafi loyalists to pull back.
"Between 40 and 50 Gaddafi forces were killed" in the fighting, while some 12 African mercenaries were captured, the statement said, adding that 40 insurgents were wounded, 10 of them seriously.
Rebels also claimed they seized seven military vehicles, as well as weapons and ammunition.
There was no independent confirmation of the report, which came hours after the Misrata Military Council spoke of a popular "uprising" in the centre of Zliten against Gaddafi`s regime.
The rebels, who have been steadily advancing westwards from their enclave in Misrata, have been trying since early August to seize full control of Zliten, a strategic coastal town on the road to Tripoli, 120 kilometres away.