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US Drone Strike in Libya; Deaths in Misrata

VOA News April 23, 2011

The United States has announced its first Predator drone strike in Libya, while rebels report deaths in their western stronghold, Misrata, as pro-government forces apparently retreat.

A U.S. Defense Department statement says the airstrike, carried out by an unmanned aircraft, took place on Saturday. However, the statement does not say where the strike occurred. The U.S. strike is part of a NATO-led effort to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, where rebels are fighting to overthrow the government.

In the western city of Misrata, rebels say at least 15 people were killed on Saturday in clashes between forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and rebels. However, rebels say pro-Gadhafi forces appear to be pulling out of the city.

On Friday, Libyan officials had said the military would withdraw from Misrata and leave its fate in the hands of the "tribes around Misrata and the Misrata people."

Earlier Saturday, NATO forces bombed an area close to the Libyan leader's compound in Tripoli, hitting what reporters described as a military installation. There were no reports of injuries.

And the Italian Foreign Ministry said Libyan authorities had released an Italian ship detained in the port of Tripoli last month along with its 11 crew members. The ship, which was working for an Italian oil company, was seized shortly before the international coalition began imposing the no-fly zone.

View the slide show of the besieged city of Misrata

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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