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Libyan Rebels Claim Control of Strategic City

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(BANI WALID, Libya) -- While fighting goes on in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, rebel forces have apparently seized nearly full control of Bani Walid -- southeast of Tripoli -- representing a major defeat to loyalists of deposed dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Military commanders with the new ruling Transitional National Council say they've taken 95 percent of Bani Walid with just pockets of resistance remaining.

After weeks of fighting, the pro-Gadhafi forces finally succumbed to three straight days of fire from tanks and other heavy artillery.

Taking Sirte, which appeared on the verge of collapse last week, remains problematic as snipers in the center of the city continue to hold off rebel forces determined to keep civilian casualties to a minimum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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