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Khaled Kaim, the Libyan deputy foreign minister, charged that elements of the Lebanese group Hezbollah were fighting alongside the rebels in the east of his country.

“The snipers in Misrata are elements of Hezbollah. This is not an anecdote, it’s real,” he declared, adding that Western intelligence agencies were aware of Hezbollah activity in Misrata.

Misrata’s insurgents have withstood a siege and bombardment by Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi’s forces for more than a month.

Hezbollah, however, denied sending fighters to aid rebels in Misurata. “Hezbollah denies this accusation and maintains that all such talk is unfounded,” said a brief statement released by the group on Thursday.

Gadaffi also said Qatar had sent military trainers to Libya and was supplying the rebels with French-made Milan anti-tank missiles.

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