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.
EAST OF ZLITAN, Libya (Reuters) – Midway through the morning, as Grad rockets whooshed through the branches of trees overhead, some of the young men of the 1st battalion Al Marsa regiment began to sing.
A slow, melodic and gentle version of the Muslim call to prayer that begins “Allahu Akbar” or “God is greatest,” drifted along the front line.
DAFNIYA/AL-QAWALISH, Libya (Reuters) – Rebel fighters braced for further attacks on Saturday from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi after the Libyan leader staged a show of support at home and threatened to strike his enemies abroad.
Rebels in Misrata said the death toll in the western town, a longtime insurgent stronghold, had risen to seven from six, with at least 17 wounded, after a heavy attack by Gaddafi artillery the day before.
DAFNIYA/AL-QAWALISH, Libya (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi threatened to take the war in Libya to Europe on Friday while rebels came under heavy fire as they renewed their push against his forces.
Tens of thousands of Gaddafi supporters rallied in Tripoli’s Green Square for Friday prayers, underscoring his refusal to step down after four decades in power and five months of fighting.