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Video: Libya counts dead, heaping pressure on Gadhafi

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    >>> to us from inside libya tonight are describing a mounting death toll as security forces today again opened fire on anti-government protesters who are trying to end moammar gadhafi 's 41-year rule. u.s. officials tonight are expressing grave concern over the images coming out of places like benghazi, where according to one physician on the ground, 50 more people were killed today it is believed at least 200 people have died during the five-day uprising, a number gadhafi 's son tonight call and exaggeration. libya has barred foreign journalists from entering the country, but despite attempts to block communications to the outside, credible eyewitness accounts and some pictures of the violence are reaching us tonight. nbc's ron allen is covering the turmoil in libya from neighboring egypt and joins us now from our cairo bureau with late information. ron?

    >> reporter: good evening to you, lester. yes, tonight, protestors in libya 's second largest city say they are in control there. there are also reports of thousands of protesters gathered in the capital, triplism new indications that there is ever-increasing pressure on the regime of moammar cad cav daffy and by all accounts, his response continues to be very brutal. these amateur pictures illegally beamed out of libya report to show demonstrators in the rebellion in the eastern part of the country, heavily armed with weapons taken from or given to them by sympathetic army soldiers. they are heading to benghazi, a city of 1 million people, epicenter of the uprising. this woman was contacted there by phone.

    >> i think something is going on. hold on. can you hear that? civilians have armed themselves. i can now see civilians with arms, with guns.

    >> reporter: libya is virtually hidden from the outside world , the internet shut down, outside media, banned, service sporadic. reports getting out accuse gadhafi 's army of firing live ammunition, including heavy weapons new york crowds of mourners burying their dead. poor people an oil-rich nation demanding a better life . a cycle playing now the some places several days in a row. we spoke by phone to an activist, worried about what an unpredictable gadhafi would do next.

    >> i think he is planning a massacre here, definitely for sure. pretty much every victim that were either shot to the head, chest, neck, or on the leg toward the femoral art, they were shooting to kill.

    >> reporter: cad calf fit is longest serving ruraler in africa and the arab world , four decades in power, atop the continent's oil reserves . for most of that time, an enemy of america. lately, after renouncing terror and taking responsibility for the lockerbie bombing in scott land off the list of rogue leaders. today, gadhafi on state tv refused to acknowledge the uprising. he has said foreigners are in the country to cause chaos.

    >> this is a very serious development and we are afraid that a human rights catastrophe is actually unfolding as i speak.

    >> reporter: meanwhile, there are reports the rebellion is moving closer to the capital, tripoli, trapping people in their homes.

    >> please, please, please, please, we need your help. we need your help to help us. please. do you hear the guns? oh, my goodness.

    >> reporter: one of gadhafi 's sons spoke on state tv, saying the military has been defending itself against separatists who are trying to divide the nation and that media reports have been exaggerating the problem. and here across the border in egypt, a crowd converged on libya 's embassy in cairo . many there worried about and barely able to reach family back home.

    >> i have managed to talk to one of my uncles. the others, the cousins york know anything about them. i tried to community with their cell phones. i hope that they are still alive. i really hope so.

    >> reporter: gadhafi 's sons remarks were defiant and a strong warning to the protesters. at the same time so many libyans we have spoken to today say it is now or never there is no turning back as they fight to force gadhafi out. lester?

    >> ron allen in cairo tonight, thank you.

Interactive: The Egypt effect

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  2. Timeline Recent Middle East unrest

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