Rebel forces gaining ground in Libya

In Libya, rebel forces are regaining lost territory in the oil-producing region. NATO is taking full command of the military operation. Powerful explosions are being reported in Tripoli.

The rebels are advancing westward from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

CBS News correspondent Many Clark reports battle scarred but back in rebel hands, Ras Lanuf was a key foothold for Qaddafi forces as they pushed east.

"It says, 'Long live Qaddafi,'" says a rebel. "Then here it says, 'Free Libya.'"

Locals say Ras Lanuf is free once more.

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We were here as the rebel hold of the city collpased to Qaddafi forces two weeks ago under heavy bombardment. It was the shelling of civilians that triggered coaliltion forces to take out Qaddafi's heavy weaponry that surrounded several eastern cities.

Rebels say that government forces are on the run but they're not chasing them this time. Instead, they're conducting clearing operations to secure the ground they fought hard to win back.

Ajdabiyah was the first city back in rebel hands as Qaddafi's forces retreated. Now people are taking stock of what they suffered through. Pictures of the dead and names of the missing are posted at the hospital.

A doctor decided to stay when government forces took control. His hand was injured when the hospital came under attack.

"The last case I see brain tissue out," he said. "They cut the neck. Disastrous."

Families are starting to return, though some people did stay to protect their homes.

I was scared said one man. Look at these bombs.

Rebels are content but also cautious. They say they will get to Tripoli step by step, city by city.

Pro Qaddafi forces are believed to have pulled back all the way to Sirte. There have been coalition air raids all around the city.

  • Mandy Clark

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