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Heavy fighting in Ivory Coast as forces clash around presidential palace

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Emmanuel Braun/Reuters

(Read caption) Forces loyal to Ivorian presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara prepare to head to the frontline in the capital Abidjan, Saturday. Soldiers of Ivory Coast's rival leaders battled for the presidential palace, military bases and state TV in the main city Abidjan on Saturday, in a conflict becoming so brutal that it killed 800 people in one town alone.

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Forces supporting Ivory Coast President-elect Alassane Ouattara are closing on the presidential palace where former President Laurent Gbagbo has dug in, in what could be the climax of the violence gripping the West African nation.

An adviser to Mr. Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of last fall's presidential election, told the Associated Press that fighters loyal to Ouattara were gathering in preparation for a final assault on the palace in Abidjan Sunday. The area around the palace was quiet Sunday, though the AP reports that hundreds of young men had gathered there, apparently in response to Mr. Gbagbo's call for civilians to gather around the palace as human shields.

Abidjan saw heavy fighting on Saturday, reports BBC News, as the two sides exchanged heavy artillery fire in the city as they battled to control the palace, the state television station, and the city's military base.

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