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The war for Libya’s oil

Derek Brower reports from inside the rebel-held east of the country

EAST Libya’s rebellion against Muammar Qadhafi was a month old when, on 17 March, the colonel’s forces and their truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns arrived in Zueitina, a dusty, coastal town about 5 km northwest of Ajdabiya. They shot everyone they could find. Then they moved onto the oil installations. Rebel forces appeared, trapping some of Qadhafi’s men and killing 10 of them. But as the loyalists retreated, they unleashed a barrage of missiles from a BM-21, the notorious Soviet-made mobile Grad multiple-rocket launcher. “It entered there,” said Saad Hamid, safety manager of the Zueitina power station, pointing to a puncture in the side of the burnt-out 15m-tonne oil-storage tank. The sing

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