Zawiyah (Libya), Aug. 18 (Reuters): Libyan rebels took control of an oil refinery in the western town of Zawiyah and blocked the main highway north to the capital today, further isolating Muammar Gaddafis Tripoli stronghold.
Rebel advances in recent days have cut Gaddafis forces off from their main supply routes following a months-long stalemate, putting the Libyan leaders 41-year rule under unprecedented pressure.
Small groups of rebel fighters occupied the inside of the Zawiyah refinery complex, about 50km west of Tripoli on the highway linking the capital to Tunisia. There was no sign of the pro-Gaddafi forces that had battled for the plant for days.
Doctors at a hospital a few kilometres south of Zawiyah said nine people were killed and at least 45 injured in fighting around the town and at the refinery yesterday, most of them rebels, and said pro-Gaddafi forces had hit a house near the hospital.