ZAWIYA, Libya – Anti-government forces backed by rebel army troops are in control of the city closest to the capital Tripoli.
An Associated Press reporter who arrived Sunday in Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, says forces loyal to longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi are surrounding the city of 200,000. But anti-government rebels and troops allied with them are in control of the city center.
Police stations and government offices have been torched and anti-Gadhafi graffiti is everywhere. Many buildings in the city are pockmarked by bullet holes.
"Gadhafi Out," chanted hundreds in the city center, where army tanks controlled by rebels are deployed.
Gadhafi loyalists remain in control of Tripoli.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — A member of the Benghazi city council says the Libyan cities under rebel control have appointed an ex-justice minister to lead a provisional government.
Fathi Baja says opponents of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi named Mustafa Abdel-Jalil to the provisional leadership post.
Baja said Sunday that Abdel-Jalil was chosen by the committees running the eastern Libyan cities now in the rebellion's hands.
On Saturday, Libya's top envoy to the U.S. also said Gadhafi opponents were rallying behind efforts to form an alternative government led by Abdel-Jalil, who has criticized Gadhafi's brutal crackdown on protesters.
It was not immediately clear how much support the proposed provisional leadership commands.
The uprising against Gadhafi began in Benghazi on Feb. 15. The rebels now control most of the eastern half of the country.