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Libya's Escalating Conflict

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As Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi launches a new "diplomatic offensive," sending envoys to meet with European Union officials and the Egyptian military, forces loyal to him have gained ground in their fight with rebels, pounding them with air attacks and recapturing a number of towns. Today, a fuel-storage facility near the port town of Ras Lanuf is in flames after it was reportedly struck during air raids, while rebels on the ground fought back against Libyan jets. Photojournalists in Libya have captured dramatic images of the clashes over the past several days, as international officials continue to deliberate whether to enforce a No-Fly zone over the country. [43 photos]

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A rebel fighter fires a weapon in front of a burning gas storage terminal during a battle on the road between Ras Lanuf and Bin Jawad, March 9, 2011. The rebel movement in their east Libya headquarters of Benghazi said on Wednesday their forces moved back into the hard fought over town of Bin Jawad, but some fighters said its fate was not clear. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
A rebel fighter fires a weapon in front of a burning gas storage terminal during a battle on the road between Ras Lanuf and Bin Jawad, March 9, 2011. The rebel movement in their east Libya headquarters of Benghazi said on Wednesday their forces moved back into the hard fought over town of Bin Jawad, but some fighters said its fate was not clear. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
Libyan rebel fighters take cover as a bomb dropped by an air force fighter jet explodes near a checkpoint on the outskirts of the oil town of Ras Lanuf on March 7, 2011. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Rebel fighters fire an anti-aircraft gun near Bin Jawad March 5, 2011. In the small town of Bin Jawad, where rebel forces were massing about 160 km (100 miles) from Sirte, they fired off rounds at warplanes and helicopters that had followed progress of the convoy to the coastal town and swooped over them. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
Rebel fighters jump away from shrapnel during heavy shelling by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi near Bin Jawad, March 6, 2011. Rebels in east Libya regrouped on Sunday and advanced on Bin Jawad after forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi ambushed rebel fighters and ejected them from the town earlier in the day. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
A Libyan rebel fighter wearing his old national flag as a cape flashes the "victory" sign as he looks at an air force fighter jet flying overhead at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the oil town of Ras Lanuf on March 7, 2011. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Men look at an unexploded shell after an air strike in the eastern city of Ras Lanuf March 8, 2011. Libyan warplanes launched at least four air strikes on the rebel-held town in the east on Tuesday as the two sides in the insurrection against Muammar Qaddafi faced off across a new front line close to major oil export terminals. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih) #
An injured rebel fighter is brought to a hospital in the flashpoint town of Ras Lanuf on March 8, 2011, as Libya's air force carries out raids, on this rebel-held oil town. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images) #
A medic searches for bodies in a destroyed weapons dump near Benghazi March 5, 2011. An attack by Libyan military forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi on a weapons dump near Benghazi in rebel-controlled eastern Libya killed 17 people on Friday, Al Jazeera television reported. There were no further details. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem) #
People walk inside a destroyed weapons dump near Benghazi March 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem) #
A rebel fighter fires a cannon during a battle near Ras Lanuf, March 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
Libyan rebel fighters are silhouetted at sunset on March 7, 2011 in the oil center of Brega. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Men, who used to work in Libya but recently fled the unrest, are seen next to their tents in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, Saturday, March 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #
Bangladeshi refugees fleeing Libya wait to be registered in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, Tuesday March 8, 2011. The 20,000-capacity transit camp for thousands of migrant workers who have fled the fighting in Libya in the past two weeks is about seven kilometers (four miles) from the Libyan border and is expanding with each day of crisis in Libya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #
Men reach for food during a distribution of supplies in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, Sunday, March 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #
An evacuee bathes at an UNHCR refugee camp near the border crossing of Ras Ajdir after fleeing violence in Libya March 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis) #
Men, who used to work in Libya but recently fled the unrest, warm themselves beside a fire as they wait for a bus in order to be repatriated to their countries in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #
Libyan rebels escort a wounded soldier captured from forces loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi following clashes for control over the center of the city of Zawiyah, 50 km (31 miles) west of the capital Tripoli, March 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Stringer) #
A Libyan man enters an underground prison through an opening in the side wall created by protesters using explosives at the stormed al-Katiba base in Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Al-Katiba is a Libyan internal security forces facility that hosted offices, a training field, an official ceremonies platform, an under ground secret detention camp and the residence of the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in Benghazi, it was stormed and mostly burned by protesters during the ongoing Libyan uprising. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) #
A man lights a fire to look at the underground prisons that were part of the headquarters for forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in Benghazi March 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem) #
A man walks inside a damaged reception room of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi inside his personal headquarters in Benghazi's airport March 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem) #
A rebel fighter fires his weapon at a military aircraft loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi at a checkpoint in Ras Lanuf March 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
A Libyan government helicopter flies over before attacking rebel forces on the frontline on March 6, 2011 near Ben Jawat, Libya. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
A Libyan rebel who is part of the forces against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi holds a sword as he rides in a car to the frontline near Ras Lanuf, west of the town of Brega, eastern Libya on March 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Libyan rebels service an anti-aircraft gun near strategic petroleum facilities on March 7, 2011 in Ras Lanuf, Libya. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebel fighters take cover as bomb dropped by an air force fighter jet explodes near a checkpoint on the outskirts of the oil town of Ras Lanuf on March 7, 2011. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Rebel fighters run for cover in front of an antiaircraft gun during an air strike in Ras Lanuf March 7, 2011. Major Libyan oil ports Ras Lanuf and Brega in the east of the country are closed as violence in the area has hampered operations at the terminals, shipping sources said on Monday. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
Anti-Qaddafi rebels try to calm their colleague who lost a relative during fighting against pro-Qaddafi fighters, near the town of Bin-Jawad, eastern Libya, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) #
Libyan doctors treat an injured rebel, who was wounded during the fighting against pro-Qaddafi fighters, at a hospital in the town of Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) #
Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint, who they accuse of being a loyalist to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
A Libyan rebel fighter mans a check point in the stronghold oil town of Ras Lanuf on March 5, 2011 where up to 10 people were killed and more than 20 wounded in clashes between opposition and loyalists of Muammar Qaddafi forces. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images) #
The body of a reported Libyan fighter pilot lies in the desert on March 5th, 2011, near Ras Lanuf, Libya. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
A rebel mans an anti-aircraft gun in Ras Lanuf March 8, 2011. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
Libyan rebel fighters run for cover as an air force jet flying overhead drops a bomb on the outskirts of Ras Lanuf, Libya on March 8, 2011. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Libyan volunteer kisses the face of a man who was killed in clashes with pro-Muammar Qaddafi forces a few days ago, but whose body was just discovered, at a hospital in the eastern town of Ras Lanouf, Libya on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill) #
Armed rebel fighters ride in the back of a vehicle in Bin Jawad March 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #
Rebel fighters opposing Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi fire their weapons at a Libyan air force fighter jet flying overhead at the entrance of Ras Lanuf on March 8, 2011. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebels who are part of the forces against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi sit in their vehicle near Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, Monday, March 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Anti-Qaddafi rebels ride on a truck mounted with a rocket launcher, as flames rises from a fuel storage facility that was attacked during fighting in Sedra, eastern Libya on Wednesday March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) #
A Libyan fighter jet flies over the oil town of Ras Lanuf on March 9, 2011 before bombing positions of rebel fighters. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebel fighters launch a rocket towards a position held by forces loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi during clashes between the two side few kilometers outside the town of Ras Lanuf on March 9, 2011. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Rebel fighters run for cover as shells explode nearby during clashes with forces loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi, near Ras Lanuf on March 9, 2011. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Rebels attack government troops as a natural gas facility burns on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebels look at a column of black smoke rising from a burning oil pipe just outside the town of Ras Lanuf on March 9, 2011. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images) #

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