Wedeman first to file from American net in country

CNN’s Ben Wedeman has won a dangerous race: The cabler’s senior international correspondent is the first TV journo for a U.S. outlet to file from Libya. That country is enduring the convulsions of a popular revolt against head of state Moammar Gadhafi, whose reign has entered its fifth decade.

“This part of Eastern Libya is clearly under control of the rebel forces that are opposed to Col. Gadhafi,” Wedeman told the net’s Wolf Blitzer by phone Monday evening. “Clearly, the situation is very unstable. What we saw is there are a lot of people, mostly Egyptians, that are leaving Libya. At the moment we are told by officials at the Egyptian border that 15,000 Egyptians left Libya returning to Egypt.”

Journos have had trouble entering Libya even as they’ve covered the collapse of governments around that country; the rulers of Egypt and Tunisia have fallen under pressure from demonstrators and protests continue in Bahrain.

Gadhafi, however, has responded with greater violence than any of his neighbors, sending in air strikes against revolutionaries and setting fire to munitions dumps to stymie reprisal.

Other reporters weren’t far behind Wedeman. By late Tuesday, NBC News’ Richard Engel had a dateline of Tubruk (a city in the eastern part of the country) next to his name, while other competitors reported from Valetta, Malta, and Ankara, Turkey.

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