Zawiyah encircled by Kadhafi forces: report

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The Libyan town of Zawiyah is circled by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, a British journalist in the town reported Friday, amid fierce fighting between pro- and anti-regime forces.

"This town is under siege, it's been encircled by the army," Alex Crawford of Sky News said in a report shortly after 1700 GMT.

In an update an hour later, she said the city's residents feared an attack overnight.

"They fear that they are going to be attacked tonight and they are digging in to try to defend themselves," Crawford said.

In an earlier television report from a hospital in Zawiyah, she said at least three people had died and there were up to 50 people injured, seven of them critically. Two children were among those hurt.

"We were walking with the anti-Kadhafi protesters through the main street of Zawiyah, there were several thousands of them, the bulk of them unarmed," she said from the town near Tripoli.

"The town has been circled by army, you have to go through a number of checkpoints to just get inside."

She said the protesters "were marching towards the military lines when the army opened fire using tanks, weapons. They fired several times, repeatedly at the protesters and they also used machine gun fire".

"A number of the protesters were hit and we're now in the hospital where a number of them have got bullet wounds to the back. Several ambulances were called and they were fired on as well," she said.

© 2011 AFP

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