Qaddafi forces shell Ajdabiyah, pound Misratah as stalemate hardens
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s loyalists shelled the key eastern city of Ajdabiyah and fired on the only western rebel stronghold of Misratah as NATO airstrikes hit the capital, Tripoli.
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Qaddafi’s loyalists also fired on the western city of Misratah, where dozens have been wounded and food supplies are running out, as NATO airstrikes struck the capital, Tripoli. The back-and-forth comes a month after the United Nations authorized the use of force to protect civilians in Libya, as the conflict has settled into what looks like a stalemate.
Reuters reports that Qaddafi’s forces shelled rebels outside Ajdabiyah Sunday, and that some of the opposition forces were fleeing. According to Reuters, the Qaddafi loyalists have bombed the road leading from Ajdabiyah west to Brega, about 50 miles away, repeatedly over past days. On Saturday, the rebel forces had pushed along that road toward Brega and said they controlled the outskirts of the city, while Qaddafi’s forces held the center, Al Jazeera reports. The rebels reached the town after NATO airstrikes, but 6 died and 16 were wounded in the assault.
Meanwhile, Qaddafi’s forces bombed residential areas of Misratah, the rebels’ only major stronghold in the west, for the fourth straight day. It has been cut off from rebel-held territory in the east for weeks, and conditions are reportedly growing worse there, with as many as 700 killed in past weeks and a food shortage growing. Reuters reports that at least six people were killed and 47 wounded in the early morning shelling. Al Jazeera reports that Sunday’s shelling hit food industry facilities, and that the group Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) was able to evacuate about 99 wounded people to Tunisia.