By Ria Novosti
Troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have retaken the coastal towns of Misrata and Zawiyah from rebels, state television reported on Sunday.
The government lost control of Az Zawiyah, some 60 km (37 miles) to the west of Tripoli, in late February and the city was viewed as a platform for an attack on the country’s capital to oust Gaddafi.
The military offensive on Zawiyah began on Friday night and by Saturday morning Gaddafi’s army, using heavy artillery and tanks, managed to break through the opposition defenses.
At least 30 people were reported killed during the battle for the town on Saturday. Eyewitnesses say they saw numerous bodies in the streets and many people wounded.
The coastal town of Misrata was captured by insurgents also in late February.
The television said the pro-Gaddafi forces were now heading for Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi in the east of the country, the stronghold of the Libyan opposition.
Inspired by the recent ouster of authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, opponents of Gaddafi are demanding an end to his 42-year rule. More than 2,000 people have been killed in clashes that began in the North African country on February 15.