Gaddafi's planes strike around rebel stronghold

BENGHAZI, Libya, March 17 Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:49am EDT

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BENGHAZI, Libya, March 17 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi's forces launched air strikes on three places on the outskirts of the rebel-held city of Benghazi on Thursday and struck a fourth location further south, a rebel spokesman said.

"We have no evidence that any of the strikes caused any damage. It seems to us like a warning, a challenge to the international community," said the spokesman for the rebel movement in Benghazi, who asked that his name not be used to avoid possible reprisals against his family.

He said one of the raids struck near Benina airport to the east of the city, but he said he was told by airport officials there was no damage. He said another strike hit Buatani also to the east of Benghazi and a third hit to the city's northwest.

He said the fourth location was near the town of Qaminis, about 50 km (30 miles) south of Benghazi. (Reporting by a Reuters reporter in Benghazi and Tom Pfeiffer on the Egypt/Libya border; Writing by Edmund Blair in Cairo)

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