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General News    H3'ed 6/10/11

Brutal Gaddafi Army Bombardment of Misrata Outskirts: Scores Dead and Injured

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Revolutionary flag of Libya, taking a beating but still flying (source)

Friday June 10, 2011:

Amidst cries of "Where is NATO?" by Libyan rebels and doctors, Gaddafi forces unleashed up to a nine hour barrage Friday, according to Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley reporting from Al Dafniya, a town on the Western outskirts of Misrata, of indiscriminate Grad rocket attacks and tank and artillery fire around Misrata, accompanied by regime troop advances toward Misrata that have again been repelled, the second attempt to advance on the city in three days. Apparently, however, the Grad rockets attacks and tank and artillery shelling were much worse today than even Wednesday's heavy assault that a Guardian UK report claimed saw several thousand rockets and mortars fired at rebel areas.

Reports are that NATO jets were "missing in action" for hours, only arriving long after the barrage and ground attack had begun. One must question whether NATO is compromising its efforts by bombarding targets in Tripoli while the regime's army in the field is still obviously very well-equipped with rockets and other ordnance, enough for them to also shell Gadamis and rebel areas of Zlitan in the last few hours, according to al Jazeera:

Clashes near the Libyan rebel-held city of Misurata have killed 31 people, according to a doctor at Hikma Hospital.

The doctor said that Muammar Gaddafi's forces used tanks, artillery and incendiary rockets in the bombardment of a town 30km from Misurata, where at least 61 people were wounded on Friday morning (fighting has lasted into the evening-Mac).

Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley, reporting from Al Dafniya near Misurata, said it has been "a bloody day in terms of casualties".

"For nine intensive hours bombardments were non-stop. We were at a former garage workshop that has been turned into a mash unit, and body after body after casualty was being brought in there. It was complete mayhem......

Country-wide clashes

Friday was a day of heavy fighting around the country.

Gaddafi forces also shelled the world heritage-listed Berber city of Gadamis for the first time, some 600km southwest of the capital on the Tunisia and Algerian border, opening a new front in the five-month long civil war.

Ahmed Bani, a military spokesman in Benghazi, told the Reuters news agency that clashes had broken out in Zlitan on Thursday and resumed on Friday with Gaddafi forces killing 22 rebels.

Zlitan is one of three towns that are under government control between Misurata and the capital and if it were to fall, could act as a stepping stone to allow the anti-Gaddafi uprising to spread from Misurata, the biggest rebel outpost in western Libya, to Gaddafi's stronghold in Tripoli.

"Large numbers of troops are surrounding Zlitan from all directions and are threatening its residents with having their women raped by mercenaries if they do not surrender," Bani said, adding the rebels controlled parts of the city. (FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE)

Also, Excerpted from CNN:

Misrata, Libya (CNN) -- Heavy fighting that began at dawn and continued past midnight Friday left at least 31 people dead Saturday in the western Libyan city of Misrata, where rebel forces thwarted efforts by government forces to enter from the west and south.

By the end of Friday, more than 160 others had been wounded, said medical sources at the city's Hekmah Hospital.

Friday's casualties were the heaviest in a month, Dr. Khaled Abu Falgha said. Medics chanted, "The martyrs are beloved to God" every time a patient died, he said.

The rebels said Gadhafi's forces also shelled nearby Zlitan, as well as rebel positions in Dafniya. Tanks were rolling in and witnesses on the frontline said pro-Gadhafi forces were firing rockets and missiles.

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