The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates


Libya's rebel-held Misrata on alert for new attack

Posted: 17 Mar 2011 07:14 AM PDT

TUNIS (Reuters) - Residents of Misrata, the last big rebel stronghold in western Libya, said they were preparing for a new attack on Thursday after Muammar Gaddafi's forces shelled the coastal city overnight.

"There were two more rounds of shelling last night," said Saadoun, a Misrata resident. "But things are quiet so far. We are hearing that tanks are moving ... We believe they will attack the city again," he told Reuters by telephone.

"We are not sure if they will do it right now or if they will wait for more reinforcement from Tripoli, especially after their defeat yesterday," he said.

Gaddafi's forces launched an attack on Wednesday on Misrata, a city of 300,000 people about 200 km (130 miles) east of Tripoli, using tanks and artillery, residents said.

But fighters said they had stopped the assault and seized some tanks from the pro-Gaddafi units.

A doctor at Misrata hospital said the death toll from Wednesday's fighting had risen to 18, with 42 people wounded. The previous figure was 11 dead.

Libyan state television reported on Thursday that Gaddafi's armed forces had retaken control of Misrata -- which has been in rebel hands for nearly a month -- and it was being "sterilised from those criminal armed gangs".

But several people in Misrata told Reuters the rebels still controlled the city. "This is not true. They are lying," said one resident, Mohamed.

Abdulbasset, the rebels' spokesman in the city, who gave only his first name, said that pro-Gaddafi snipers had taken positions on the roofs of several houses on the southern side of the city.

"People are still inside these houses. This puts us in a difficult position when we are fighting," he said.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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NATO says not to late for Libya intervention

Posted: 17 Mar 2011 07:14 AM PDT

WARSAW (Reuters) - The head of NATO said on Thursday he did not think it was too late to intervene in Libya but said much depended on the United Nations.

"Time is of the essence, time is rapidly running out, but I don't think it's too late. Very much will depend on the U.N. Security Council decision," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Warsaw, referring to current deliberations at the world body.

EDITOR'S NOTE: PICTURE TAKEN ON GUIDED GOVERNMENT TOUR Libyan government army rocket launchers are seen in the desert near the west gate of town Ajdabiyah March 16, 2011. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

"I can imagine the international community and the United Nations standing strongly together behind the Libyan people if the weakened regime continues to attack its own people."

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; writing by David Brunnstrom)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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