Nato warplanes pound Gaddafi forces


Nato launched air strikes against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s troops in the stricken port city of Misrata on Sunday after regime forces killed at least 11 people there over the weekend , rebels said.

And in Brussels, an alliance official said that Nato warplanes had destroyed 11 regime tanks on the road to the eastern Libyan town of Ajdabiya and another 14 tanks near Misrata. On the diplomatic front, a high-ranking African Union delegation was on its way to Libya on Sunday to present a blueprint for a ceasefire. Rebels said they had captured 15 Algerian mercenaries and killed another three during fierce fighting in Ajdabiya the previous day.

Medics also said at least 12 rebels were killed in and around Ajdabiya over the weekend . Officials at Benghazi’s Jala hospital said it had received nine “martyrs” from the fighting and 14 wounded people, and a doctor at the Al-Hawwara hospital said it had received three dead and three wounded. The air strikes on Misrata came on Sunday morning, a rebel spokesman in the besieged town said, describing the raids as “a marked improvement in Nato intervention” .

“They began the raids yesterday on the Gaddafi forces in the northwest of the town and near the centre of Misrata ,” said the spokesman.

“In the morning, there were new raids but we are not able to verify the targets,” he said, adding that eight rebels were killed by pro-Gaddafi forces and 22 others were wounded on Saturday.

A doctor at Misrata hospital gave the same death toll for Saturday, saying they included civilians, while putting the number of wounded at 25. The doctor said the hospital had received three bodies on Sunday , two rebels and a civilian, adding that it was possible there could be more fatalities at other medical facilities.

“As of noon today, Nato air strikes have taken out 11 tanks on the road to Ajdabiya and strikes will continue through the day and tonight,” a Nato official in Brussels said. “Clearly the situation in Ajdabiya is desperate and Gaddafi forces are attacking the town with heavy weapons.”

Loud explosions rocked Ajdabiya for a second day on Sunday, as rebel fighters advanced cautiously after suffering a major reverse at the hands of loyalists. timesofindia