DAFNIYA, Libya (Reuters) – The small hand-packed plastic bag appears to contain just nuts and raisins, but inside is a printed note on a strip of paper from a widows’ group in Misrata for the rebels who are fighting forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi west of the city.
“The women of Misrata are not afraid,” the note reads in Arabic, “because Misrata gives birth to brave men.”
MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – When 12-year-old Mohammed Bielshak left the house with his brother Ali on March 20, it was to give water from their well to thirsty rebels nearby who were fighting forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
“All we wanted to do was help the revolutionaries,” Mohammed said.
While they were out in the street, they were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Ali, 14, sustained shrapnel wounds in the leg and stomach and now walks with crutches. Mohammed lost his right arm just below the elbow and his left thumb and was blinded in his left eye. His right leg was fractured and has had reconstructive surgery on his left leg.
MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan rebel forces on Sunday entered the oil town of Brega and fought street battles there with forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, a rebel spokesman said, in the biggest offensive in eastern Libya in weeks.
“The news coming from there is there is a street war going on between Gaddafi troops and the rebels, and 127 are wounded from our side,” Abdulrahman Busm, an official in the rebel National Transitional Council, said by telephone.
DAFNIYA, Libya (Reuters) – When the war in Libya started, many young men now on the rebel front line at Misrata were so interested in computer games and mobile phones that older residents never thought they would turn into fighters. “Before the uprising, all those young men cared about was hair gel, clothes, music, mobile phones and hanging out in cafes,” said Mahmoud Askutri, a businessman who has formed and funds the 1st battalion of the Al Marsa regiment, one of the rebel units fighting here to end Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year rule.
“But now they fight and are willing to die for a cause.”
Amid the Arab Spring protests that swept the region early this year, the people of Misrata and elsewhere in Libya demanded greater freedom, so Gaddafi sent in the troops to silence their protests.
MISRATA, Libya, July 14 (Reuters) – When Omar Suasi
surrendered to the soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi, he expected them to arrest him.
The 26-year-old truck driver had taken up arms against
Gaddafi after soldiers about a month earlier opened fire on a
crowd of unarmed people in Misrata who had been protesting for
greater freedom. He says that when the troops surrounded him, he
put down his gun and lay on the ground.
MISRATA, Libya, July 12 (Reuters) – Italy wants a political
solution to the war in Libya that would see Muammar Gaddafi
“leaving the stage”, its foreign minister told an Algerian
newspaper on Tuesday after a rebel campaign ran into resistance.
With rifts apparent within NATO, the United States said some
allies in the campaign against Gaddafi could see their forces
“exhausted” within three months.
MISRATA/PARIS (Reuters) – Libyan rebels dug into defensive positions and hoarded ammunition on Monday, stalled in their advance toward Tripoli in a slowing campaign that is starting to irk NATO allies.
France expressed impatience over the weekend at the inability to reach a political solution to the crisis after months of static fighting, and stepped up pressure on rebels to negotiate an end to the conflict.
MISRATA, Libya, July 11 (Reuters) – When the battle for
Misrata began in late February, Mahmoud Mohammed Askutri started
out with a Kalashnikov rifle and four bullets.
Standing alongside his former schoolteacher, who was armed
with a sharpened piece of metal, Askutri spotted and shot a
soldier loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
EAST OF ZLITAN, Libya (Reuters) – For Abu Youssef, the uprising against the 41-year rule of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has become a family affair.
The 52-year-old former businessman has been on the front line with his 23-year old son, Khalid, since April and last Friday was the first day of combat for his younger son, Ali, 18.
MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – Sadiq Mubakar Krain’s blue overalls are soaked with sweat as he works on an improvised rocket launcher for the rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi.
“This is the first time I make one of these,” said Krain, 52, pointing to a launcher that consists of 16 rocket tubes scavenged from a military helicopter.