Libyan rebels in pickup trucks mounted with weapons and troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi battled in the streets of Zawiya Sunday, a day after opposition forces pushed from the western mountains into the strategic city in their most dramatic advance in months.
Pro-Gadhafi snipers shot at rebels from an overpass deep in the city, while loud booms echoed and a column of heavy black smoke rose over the outskirts. Dozens of civilians crammed in cars with their belongings fled the city. In one car, four women cried desperately, as their male driver called out:
“There are dead people in our neighborhood”.
An Associated Press reporter in Zawiya saw some of the fiercest battles on Ghanam Street, a main road leading into downtown from the south of the city. Pickup trucks sped along it from the city center, ferrying the wounded and dead, and piling them into ambulances that wailed on their way out of Zawiya.