On Friday, four people, including two children, were killed and 10 others injured in Misratah, which lies 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, as the daily clashes continue to rage between opposition forces and pro-Gaddafi troops, AFP quoted a source in the revolutionaries’ camp as saying on Saturday.
“Gaddafi forces continue to fire blindly on the houses of Misratah,” said the source, adding that “Today, four martyrs fell, including two children under age four.” Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s forces on Wednesday pounded the besieged city of Misratah with heavy artillery, killing at least five people and injuring 25 others. The bombardment forced the temporary closure of the city’s port, which is a key route for supplies to civilians.
The source went on to question NATO’s role as enshrined in the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 to enforce a no-fly zone over crisis-hit Libya in order to protect civilians against attacks by Gaddafi’s forces.
“Civilians are being killed in Misratah,” added the source amid reports that the western allied forces, which conduct air raids on Libya, have not intervened in the western town so far.
Meanwhile, fierce clashes between troops loyal to Gaddafi and anti-regime forces have intensified around the eastern oil-refining town of Brega for nearly a week.
On Thursday, a NATO airstrike claimed the lives of at least five opposition forces between the towns of Ajdabiya and Brega, marking the second deadly NATO strike on Libyan revolutionary forces in less than a week
The head of the opposition’s armed forces, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younis, said this week that NATO’s inaction has been the primary cause of the loss of human life in Misratah and other cities.
He also blamed NATO for allowing government troops to advance further into the opposition-controlled cities in eastern Libya, and threatened to ask the United Nations Security Council to suspend the NATO mission in Libya if the military alliance does not do “its work properly.”
Since the onset of the bloody skirmishes in the North African country, pro-Gaddafi forces for the most part used heavy tanks and artillery to pound the cities along the Mediterranean coast, but they have switched tactics by leaving their heavy armor behind and using only light trucks and fast-firing anti-aircraft cannon on the front lines between Brega and Ajdabiya.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced serious concern about the worsening conditions for civilians in Brega in the East and Misrata and Zintan, a city of 100,000 about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Tripoli.