Gadhafi Forces Attack Libyan Port City of MisrataPublished on Wednesday 8th June 2011
Government forces in Libya have carried out a heavy assault on the rebel-held city of Misrata on the same day that NATO vowed to keep up its air campaign against the embattled Libyan leader.Witnesses say the port city came under heavy shelling Wednesday as thousands of pro-Gadhafi troops advanced from the south, east and west. Doctors and rebel sources say the shelling of Misrata killed at least 10 people and wounded more than 25 others.The violence came as NATO defense ministers, meeting in Brussels, vowed to stay the course in their aerial operations against forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said the alliance is preparing for a Libya without the authoritarian leader. The NATO chief said Gadhafi's departure is no longer a question of "if" he goes, but rather "when" he goes.A NATO statement said the alliance is committed to providing "all the necessary means" and "maximum operational flexibility" to sustain its military campaign in Libya. The NATO allies sought broader support and additional contributions to the effort.NATO is operating under a U.N. mandate that calls for taking all necessary measures other than occupation to protect civilians and civilian areas from attack by Gadhafi's forces.NATO warplanes attacked targets in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, overnight and on Tuesday, carried out daytime airstrikes that were some of the most intense since the coalition operation began in March. However, the Libyan leader vowed Tuesday to continue fighting. He said in an audio broadcast that the Libyan people will not surrender.Meanwhile, the U.N.'s special envoy for Libya arrived in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi Wednesday for talks with opposition leaders. Jordanian Abdul Ilah al-Khatib came from Tripoli, where he reportedly held talks with officials from Gadhafi's government.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling to the United Arab Emirates, where the 22-nation Libyan Contact Group holds talks on Thursday, including on how to assist the Libyan rebels opposing Gadhafi. The group agreed last month to set up a fund to provide the rebels with food, medicine and military supplies.