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Libya's Shifting Civil War

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For the past couple of months, Libyan rebels have been advancing and retreating along a dangerous coastal highway in their battle with forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. NATO airstrikes have reportedly helped the rebels, despite several reported "friendly-fire" incidents. Qaddafi retains a strong hold on much of western Libya, where the rebel military effort appears to be shifting more to guerrilla tactics. Last night, Qaddafi accepted a cease-fire proposal brought to him by an African Union delegation, but rebel forces claim that they will not negotiate unless Qaddafi steps down. Several journalists are currently unaccounted for in Libya, some of whom are thought to be detained by the Libyan government, including Clare Morgana Gillis, a U.S. citizen who has reported from Libya for TheAtlantic.com and USA Today. Collected here are scenes from the country over the past several weeks. [40 photos]

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A bomb can be seen falling near columns of heavy smoke from previous bombs, during an airstrike in the Tajoura area, some 30 km east of Tripoli, Libya, on Tuesday March 29, 2011. (Xinhua via AP Photo/Hamza Turkia)
A bomb can be seen falling near columns of heavy smoke from previous bombs, during an airstrike in the Tajoura area, some 30 km east of Tripoli, Libya, on Tuesday March 29, 2011. (Xinhua via AP Photo/Hamza Turkia)
The helmet belonging to a killed fighter loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi lies on the ground close to charred fighting vehicles (unseen) at the western gate of the town of Ajdabiya on April 11, 2011. According to the rebels some 35 pro Qaddafi fighters had been killed in yesterday's NATO air strike in Ajdabiya. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images) #
A young Libyan rebel wears a checkered scarf around his head on the road to Brega April 6, 2011. Rebel militias fighting against Libyan government loyalist soldiers continued their stand-off in the eastern Libyan desert today, regaining ground toward a key oil port while anxiously awaiting further NATO airstrikes in their quest to unseat longtime Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images) #
Libyan children are evacuated as fighting continues in and around the restive eastern town of Ajdabiya on April 10, 2011, scene of heavy fighting over the past days. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi stands outside a tent erected at his Bab al-Aziziya residence in Tripoli on April 10, 2011 during a meeting with a high-ranking African Union delegation trying to negotiate a truce between Qaddafi's forces and rebels seeking to oust him. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Libyan army officer attends the welcome ceremony for the African Union delegation at Tripoli's airport on April 10, 2011. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyans shout pro-Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi slogans as they stand on top of a tank which was taken from the rebels by the Libyan army in the eastern town of Misrata on April 8, 2011. This picture was taken while on a guided government tour. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #
A mural of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is painted on the side of a building on the edge of Martyr's Square in the city of Zawiya, west of the capital Tripoli on April 5, 2011. This picture was taken while on a guided government tour. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #
Tire tracks mark the coastal highway outside Brega in eastern Libya, March 31, 2011. The exact position of the front line is difficult to know in a war of rapid movements in both directions across open desert, but one constant is the presence of the road, along which Libya's revolution has traveled, back and forth as each side advances and retreats across vast distances, leaving behind a wake of destruction and death. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
A French Mirage 2000 fighter jet from the Istres military air base approaches an airborne Boeing C-135 refueling tanker aircraft on March 30, 2011 during a refueling operation above the Mediterranean sea as part of military actions over Libya. (Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images) #
A still image taken from an undated video shows a Libyan tank before and after it is destroyed by a missile fired by a NATO Tornado fighter jet in Libya. NATO issued the video of an air strike on April 8, 2011, which it said showed one of its Tornado fighter jets attacking and destroying a tank being used by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi to spearhead an assault on the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata. (Reuters/NATO TV via Reuters TV) #
Libyan rebels walk past a burning multiple rocket launcher at sunset outside the oil rich town of Ras Lanuf on March 27 2011, as rebels press on as far as Nofilia with Sirte in their sights. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images) #
A shell impact marks the pavement at the scene of a Western air strike in the rebel-held town of Ajdabiyah March 31, 2011. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
An ammunition belt hangs over a car door painted in the colors of the rebel Kingdom of Libya flag near Brega in eastern Libya March 30, 2011. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
A rebel fighter uses a sighting device during a fight on a road east of Brega April 6, 2011. Libyan rebels pushed back towards the contested oil port of Brega on Wednesday, regaining mostly desert territory lost to Muammar Qaddafi's army the day before. (Reuters/Youssef Boudlal) #
Libyan rebels shell pro Gadhafi positions just outside Brega, Libya, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Libyan government forces on Tuesday unleashed a withering bombardment of the rebels outside a key oil town pushing them back. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #
A Libyan rebel fighter takes position in the desert some 24 km outside Brega as fighting continues against Muammar Qaddafi's forces on April 6, 2011. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images) #
A military helicopter with the rebel flag painted on its side flies very low towards the front line around the Libyan town of Ajdabiya despite a UN-imposed no-fly zone, on April 9, 2011, as rebel forces and fighters loyal to Muammar Qaddafi exchanged fire in and around the town. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images) #
A fuel pump is defaced with a graffiti caricature of Muammar Qaddafi in the rebel-held town of Ajdabiyah March 31, 2011. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
A young boy who said he had spent two days in besieged Brega then stole a vehicle belonging to Gadhafi's forces in order to return to the rebel side, is questioned by rebel fighters near the front line east of Brega, Libya Sunday, April 3, 2011. Rebel fighters shot the tires out of the vehicle as it sped through the front line but released the boy after listening to his story. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) #
A medic tries to comfort a wounded rebel fighter at a hospital in Ajdabiyah, April 7, 2011. (Reuters/Youssef Boudlal) #
Two Libyan rebels, friends of fellow rebel Moftah Wanis el-Jazwi - killed during clashes with pro Qaddafi forces, comfort each other at the hospital of Ajdabiya, Libya Saturday, April 2, 2011. Government forces killed six civilians in the city of Misrata on Saturday in an unrelenting campaign of shelling and sniper fire aimed at driving rebels from the main city they hold in western Libya, medical officials said. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) #
A B-1B Lancer strategic bomber takes off from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya, in this U.S. Air Force handout photo dated March 27, 2011. This mission marked the first time the B-1 fleet has launched combat sorties from the continental United States to strike targets overseas. (Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Marc I. Lane) #
The charred remains of a Muammar Qaddafi loyalist soldier (bottom center) lie trapped under a burned out vehicle destroyed during French airstrikes on the outskirts of Benghazi in northeastern Libya, March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
The bodies of soldiers loyal to Muammar Qaddafi are piled onto a truck following coalition air strikes around the eastern town of Ajdabiyah, March 26, 2011. Libyan rebels backed by allied air strikes retook the strategic town of Ajdabiyah on Saturday after an all-night battle. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
Rebel fighters bury a fighter loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in a mass grave at the western gate of the eastern Libyan town of Ajdabiya, scene of days of fighting on April 11, 2011. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebels ride on a damaged pickup truck during clashes with troops loyal to Muammar Qaddafi on the road between Ajdabiya and Brega, Libya, Thursday, March 31, 2011. (AP Photo) #
A building damaged by tank shells outside Ajdabiyah in eastern Libya, March 31, 2011. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
A Libyan rebel plays a guitar outside Brega, Libya, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #
An injured Libyan man with his wounded leg painted with pre-Qaddafi flag colors, is seen on board a Turkish ship carrying 250 wounded from Misrata that docked at the port of Benghazi, Libya Sunday, April 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) #
The remains of a Muammar Qaddafi loyalist soldier lie under a blanket after French airstrikes on the outskirts of Benghazi in northeastern Libya, March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #
A cord is wrapped around the hands of a man who rebels said was a rebel fighter found shot and bound by the hands and feet near the city's west gate, as he arrives in the hospital morgue in Ajdabiya, Libya Sunday, April 10, 2011. Libyan rebels said NATO airstrikes on Sunday helped them drive Muammar Qaddafi's forces out of the hard-fought eastern city of Ajdabiya that is the gateway to the opposition's stronghold. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) #
In this image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities, a partially burned wall of a Libyan police station burned by Zawiya rebels during fighting almost three weeks ago is seen in the coastal city of Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) West of Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito) #
A boat with more 200 people aboard arrives from Libya on the Italian island of Lampedusa on April 9, 2011. At the same time, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visited the island and said that Europe will not be able to "shirk" responsibility over the immigration problem. Around 26,000 undocumented migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year, including some 21,000 who said they were from Tunisia, and claimed they were fleeing a dire economic situation after the political uprising in January. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images) #
A rebel fighter sits in the back of a pick-up truck at a staging area to the east of Brega, in Libya, April 3, 2011. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #
Tools, blankets and dust fly in the air as a Libyan rebel rocket launcher misfires while shelling pro Qaddafi forces, along the front line outside the eastern town of Brega, Libya Thursday, March 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) #
A Libyan rebel, defected from pro Gadhafi forces, wears his medals along with a dagger and a hand grenade as he stands outside Brega, Libya, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #
A rebel fighter fires a weapon during a shelling along a road towards Wadi al Hamra March 28, 2011. (Reuters/Youssef Boudlal) #
Rebels run from explosions at the western gate of Ajdabiyah April 8, 2011. (Reuters Youssef Boudlal) #
Sand blows across the coastal highway that connects eastern Libya with Tripoli, near Brega in eastern Libya, April 1, 2011. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

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