Monday 11 December 2017

Six Libyan rebels dead after regime bombards opposition stronghold

Matt Robinson in Misrata

SIX Libyan rebels were killed yesterday and dozens were wounded by government artillery barrages near the rebel-held city of Misrata.

After the clashes, doctors in Misrata reported hearing war planes in the sky over the city and then the sound of an air strike hitting the area to the west of the city where the fighting had taken place.

Pick-ups and ambulances were arriving at a field hospital in Misrata's western Dafniya district, carrying fighters who had been wounded in mortar attacks.

Medical workers were using buckets of water to clean up blood from the floor of the field hospital, which had been converted from its previous use as a garage. A doctor said 28 people were wounded.

Accounts from doctors and fighters at the field hospital suggested that forces loyal to Libya's Muammar Gaddafi have been using civilian homes and farms to provide them with cover from NATO air strikes.

The doctor said the six who died were involved in operations beyond the rebel lines, in farmland between the western edge of Misrata and the neighbouring town of Zlitan.

He said they came under rocket attack soon after they approached a civilian house where pro-Gaddafi forces had been positioned, and that the rebels found the bodies of two women lying outside the house.

Later, a pick-up arrived at the field hospital carrying 10 people, including scared-looking children, women with their faces veiled, and an elderly man.

A fighter travelling with them said they were members of the same family as the two dead women and that they had been brought behind rebel lines for their safety.

Irish Independent

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