Several Libyan cities held by protesters—rights group

PARIS—Several Libyan cities, including Benghazi and Sirte, have fallen to demonstrators opposing Moamer Kadhafi’s rule after army units defected, the International Federation for Human Rights said Monday.

It put the death toll since the start of the uprising at 300 to 400.

“Many towns have fallen, particularly on the eastern coast. Soldiers have joined” the uprising against Kadhafi, IFHR head Souhayr Belhassen told AFP, naming opposition hotbed Benghazi and Kadhafi’s hometown of Sirte specifically.

She said the anti-regime protests had resulted in “between 300 and 400 deaths, probably closer to 400.” Human Rights Watch earlier cited a death toll of 233.

The Paris-based IFHR said that its information came largely from Libyan human-rights organizations.

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