Libyan government forces launch rockets on Misrata

Attack by Gaddafi troops strikes residential area near port; at least eight people killed as death toll continues to rise despite NATO involvement.

By REUTERS
April 14, 2011 12:24
1 minute read.
Gadaffi

Gaddafi 311 reuters. (photo credit: reuters)

BEIRUT - Libyan government forces struck the coastal city of Misrata with dozens of Grad rockets on Thursday, killing eight people, a rebel spokesman said.

Misrata, Libya's third-biggest city, is the only major rebel stronghold in the west of the country. It has been the scene of major fighting between rebels and Gaddafi's forces for several weeks.

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"They fired Grads at a residential area called Kasr Ahmad near the port this morning. They fired at least 80 rockets on that area. So far we have eight martyrs and 20 wounded," Abdelbasset Abu Mzereiq told Reuters by telephone.

He later clarified that those killed had been civilians and not rebel fighters as earlier understood. The death toll from the 90 minute artillery barrage was likely to rise, the spokesman added.

"They keep killing civilians. Yesterday we lost five civilians in the shelling and 37 were wounded."

Libyan officials say they are fighting armed militia with ties to al Qaeda bent on destroying the North African country. It is difficult to independently verify accounts from western Libya because journalists are prevented from reporting freely.

Meanwhile, France announced that was not currently in favour of arming Libyan rebels engaged in combat with troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Thursday.

Asked if NATO should arm the rebels, he said "France is not currently in that frame of mind."

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