A rebel spokesman called the afternoon shelling by Gaddafi’s forces “murderous.”
“He’ll keep hitting the port,” Mohamed Ali said via Skype on Tuesday. “He wants to disrupt the flow of humanitarian aid and make Misurata’s port as unsafe as possible.”
Ali, who said he was at the port as the shells rained down, said the worker from Niger was killed while lining up to board an International Organization for Migration boat that had been expected to dock. By nightfall, the boat still had not docked, he said. The organization was making its fifth trip to evacuate stranded migrants from Misurata.
Another rebel spokesman, Bashir, told the Reuters news service that Gaddafi’s forces were using Grad missiles — Russian-made munitions fired in multiple rounds from launchers on the back of trucks — to attack the port. Three Libyans were also killed by government shelling in an eastern suburb, Falgha said, making it a quieter day in the city than many of late. At least 57 people died in shelling and fighting over the weekend.
More than 2,000 migrant workers are camped out in tents near the docks waiting for an escape from the war-torn city, 131 miles east of Tripoli. Many have been sleeping there for weeks, sometimes under fire.
Gaddafi’s renewed attempt to strangle Misurata comes after his military was forced out of the city center in fierce fighting over the past few days. Loyalist troops have responded to the setback by intensifying their rocket and mortar attacks on the city, including on residential areas, from their bases to the south and east.
In an irony, Gaddafi’s government complained this week that NATO was trying to strangle it by blockading the port of Tripoli and preventing humanitarian supplies from entering, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
A NATO spokesman said Tuesday that deliveries of food, medicine and humanitarian relief were not being turned away. The bloc also denied that a rocket attack on Gaddafi’s compound Monday was an attempt on his life.
“This is about command-and-control nodes, and not about individuals,” Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, the Canadian who commands allied operations for NATO, said in an Internet briefing in which he summed up the air campaign that began March 19.
The destroyed buildings included offices, a library Gaddafi was known to use and a meeting hall where he often receives visitors, including a recent mediation mission from the African Union. Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the strike was “worthy of the mafia, of gangs, but not of governments” and would not help protect civilians.