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Pentagon monitoring Libyan use of air power

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Defense Department said on Thursday it knows the Libyan government has been using air power but not whether warplanes have attacked rebels fighting to end the 41-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

"We have seen very clearly broadcast reports showing effects of air power being used," Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan told reporters.

"Whether or not those were used on rebels, I can't say but ... there is evidence they have used air assets and dropped ordnance."

Libya has acknowledged its use of air power, saying strikes are intended to scare off militia fighters and gain control of oil installations in the east.

Witnesses said on Thursday that a warplane for a second day bombed the oil terminal town of Brega, 800 km (500 miles) east of Tripoli, the site of a struggle for control of a strategically vital coastal road and oil industry facilities.

"First of all the bombs (were) just to frighten them to go away," Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, said of the Brega air strike on Britain's Sky News.

(Reporting by Missy Ryan)

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