Snipers ter­rorise key Libyan city

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

MUAM­MAR Gaddafi’s snipers and tanks are ter­ror­is­ing civil­ians in the coastal city of Mis­rata, a res­i­dent said, and the US mil­i­tary warned it was ‘‘ con­sid­er­ing all op­tions’’ in re­sponse to dire con­di­tions there that have left peo­ple cow­eringin dark­ened homes and scroung­ing for food and rain­wa­ter.

Also on Tues­day, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said the US is days away from turn­ing over con­trol of the air as­sault on Libya to other coun­tries. Just how that will be ac­com­plished re­mains in dis­pute: Obama spoke with BritishPrime Min­is­ter David Cameron and French Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy in hopes of quickly re­solv­ing the tran­si­tion squab­ble.

‘ ‘ When this tran­si­tion takes place, it is not go­ing to be our planes that are main­tain­ing the no-fly zone. It is not go­ing to be our ships that are nec­es­sar­ily en­forc­ing the arms em­bargo.

‘‘ That’s pre­cisely what the other na­tions are go­ing to do,’’ the pres­i­dent said ata news con­fer­en­cei n El Sal­vador as he neared the end of a Latin Amer­i­can trip over­shad­owed by events in Libya.

Gaddafi, mean­while, made his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance in a week, promis­ing en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers at his res­i­den­tial com­pound in Tripoli, ‘‘ In the short term, we’ll beat them, in the long term, we’ll beat them.’’

Libyan state TV broad­cast what it said was live cover- age of Gaddafi’s less-thanfive-minute state­ment . Stand­ing on a bal­cony, he d e nounced t hecoali­tionbo mb­ing at­tacks o n hi s forces.

‘‘ O great Libyan peo­ple, you have to live now, this time of glory, this is a time of glory that we are liv­ing,’’ he said.

State TV said Gaddafi was speak­ing from his Bab AlAz­iziya r esi den­tial com­pound, the same one hit by a cruise mis­sile on Sun­day night.

Re­porters were not al­lowed to en­ter the com­pound as he spoke.

Heavy anti-air­craft fire and loud ex­plo­sions sounded in Tripoli af­ter night­fall, pos­si­bly a new at­tack in the in­ter­na­tional air cam­paign that so far has fo­cused on mil­i­tary tar­gets. Two ex­plo­sions were heard in the city be­fore daybreak yes­ter­day.

One of Gaddafi’s sons may have been killed, US Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton said early yes­ter­day.

She cited un­con­firmed re­ports and did not say which son she meant. She said the ‘‘ ev­i­dence is not suf­fi­cient’’ to con­firm this.

Clin­ton also told ABC that peo­ple close to Gaddafi are mak­ing con­tact with peo­ple abroad to ex­plore op­tions for the fu­ture, but she did not say that one of the op­tions might be ex­ile. She said they were ask­ing, ‘‘ What do we do? How do we get out of this? What hap­pens next?’’

De­spite the al­lies’ ef­forts to keep Gaddafi from over­whelm­ing rebel forces try­ing to end his four-decade rule, con­di­tions have de­te­ri­o­rated sharply in the last ma­jor city the rebels hold in west­ern Libya.

Res­i­dents of Mis­rata , 200km south­east of Tripoli, say shelling and sniper at­tacks are un­re­lent­ing. A doc­tor said tanks opened fire on a peace­ful protest on Mon­day.

‘‘ The num­ber of dead are too many for our hos­pi­tal to han­dle,’’ said the doc­tor, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity for fear of reprisals if the city falls to Gaddafi’s troops. As for food, he said, ‘‘ We share what we find and if we don’t find any­thing, which hap­pens, we don’t know what to do.’’

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