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Fighting persists as clampdown restricts communications in Libya

Roberto Schmidt / AFP - Getty Images

Libyan rebel fighters run for cover as a bomb dropped by a a Libyan air force fighter jet explodes on Friday, Mar. 11 east of the key oil port of Ras Lanuf.

The highly-censored media in Tripoli may not be alone in their lack of liberty to freely report on newsworthy events in Libya. Ty Cacek, a freelance photojournalist working in Libya said officials have severed communications.

"Phone service to all foreign mobile numbers seems has been suspended by the central government in Tripoli," Cacek told msnbc.com.

Meanwhile, AP is reporting that rebels held out Friday in part of a strategic oil port after fierce fighting with Moammar Gadhafi loyalists waging a heavy counteroffensive trying to push the opposition further east away from the capital.

Nasser Nasser / AP

Two Libyan rebels man an anti-aircraft weapon on the border of the eastern town of Brega, Libya, on Friday, Mar. 11.

Pro-Gadhafi forces barraged rebels a day earlier with an hourslong hail of rockets and tank and artillery shells in their strongest attempt yet to recapture the oil facility of Ras Lanouf, in central Libya. The assault sent hundreds of rebel fighters into a frantic retreat further east, fleeing in cars and pickup trucks fitted with heavy machine guns. More images...

But some opposition forces — including special commando forces that defected to the rebellion — continued the battle into the evening. By sunset, the regime troops burst into the residential area of Ras Lanouf, forcing rebels there to pull back, said Ibrahim Said, deputy director of the main hospital in Ajdabiya, a nearby city where rebel wounded were taken.

The rebel forces continued to hold out in the oil facilities and industrial areas of Ras Lanouf, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of the residential area. Four people were killed and 42 wounded in Thursday's fighting. Continue Reading...

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

A man pushes his belongings towards a United Nations displacement camp on Mar. 11 in Ras Jdir, Tunisia. Tens of thousands from Egypt, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Sudan and elsewhere are fleeing Libya for the Tunisian border to escape the fighting. The masses of refugees have descended on Tunisia, creating a humanitarian crisis in the country.