Gaddafi 'playing dirty tricks in Misrata'

2011-04-24 14:26
Misrata - Libyan rebels accused Muammar Gaddafi of playing dirty games in Misrata where salvos of Grad rockets exploded on Sunday in apparent contradiction of his regime's vow to halt fire in the western city.

"Gaddafi is playing a really dirty game," the Transitional National Council's military spokesperson, Colonel Omar Bani, told AFP in the rebel capital Benghazi.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said early on Sunday the army had suspended operations against rebels in Misrata, but not left the city, to enable local tribes to find a peaceful solution.

"The armed forces have not withdrawn from Misrata. They have simply suspended their operations," Kaim told a news conference in the capital.

"The tribes are determined to solve the problem within 48 hours... We believe that this battle will be settled peacefully and not militarily."

Kaim had previously announced the army would withdraw from Misrata and leave local tribes to resolve the conflict in the city, either by talks or through force.

But rebels dismissed the latest move as a ploy, as bursts of automatic weapons fire could be heard and Grad rockets exploded on the city, scene of deadly urban guerrilla fighting for weeks between rebels and Gaddafi loyalists.

"It is a trick, they didn't go," Bani said in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, adding: "They have stayed a bit out of Tripoli street but they are preparing themselves to attack again."

On Saturday, Libya's third city suffered the worst toll in 65 days of fighting, with 28 dead and 100 wounded compared with a daily average of 11 killed, according to Doctor Khalid Abu Falra at Misrata's main private clinic.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings
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