Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 03/22/2011

Libya crisis: Who controls Misurata?


Libyan school children hold portraits of leader Moammar Gaddafi as they protest outside the UN mission headquarters in Tripoli as Libyan television said that forces loyal to Gaddafi had wrested control of Misurata, one of the last rebel-held bastions, and were "purging" it of insurgents. (MAHMUD TURKIA - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Aftter encircling the Western city of Misurata for days, bringing in tanks and stationing snipers on rooftops, pro-Gaddafi forces are now shelling the city, Al Jazeera reported.

Four children have been killed in the shelling while trying to flee their home in a car. The total death toll Monday was 40.

It is unclear who holds control of this key oil port, one of the only cities in which the rebels retain a strong presence. Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told Al Jazeera that Gaddafi’s forces had liberated the city there days ago and were not after the rebels but were hunting “terrorist elements.” Opposition groups say they control the city.

Footage emerged Monday that showed the state of Misurata’s hospitals, where doctors are operating without electricity or water on people with bullet and shrapnel wounds.

An opposition activist appealed to the international community for help, saying: “We need a sea ambulance or medical supplies to be brought by sea, because the government has cut off electricity and water, and the hospital is suffering,” BBC reported.

WARNING: Video has graphic imagery.

Other footage emerged that appears to show what Misurata looks like on the ground after heavy shelling, with bullet-riddled cars, smoking or burnt-out residential buildings, and tanks rolling in. Watch:

“Change in Libya” tweeted about the shelling:

It makes me cry to see mosques in Misurata pray and cheer the revolutionaries on against the Gaddafi assault! God help them #libya #feb17less than a minute ago via web

By  |  01:15 PM ET, 03/22/2011

 
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