This Just In !!

The Associated Press has news from Zawiya, Misrata and Tripoli.

• Zawiya – as we reported earlier army units and militiamen loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attacked a mosque where protesters were holding an anti-government sit-in. Ten people were killed and around 150 wounded, according to a doctor there. Rebels had been camped at Souq mosque for days. Soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons and hit the minaret with an anti-aircraft gun, a witness said. Zawiya, which is around 40 miles west of Tripoli, is a key city near an oil port and refineries. After the attack, thousands of people rallied in Martyrs’ Square by the mosque shouting “leave, leave” in reference to Gaddafi, according to the news agency.

• Misrata – Gaddafi loyalists battled with demonstrators who had seized control of the airport in Libya’s third largest city, which is 125 miles east of Tripoli along the coast. Rebels claimed control of the city yesterday and today militiamen with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars fired at a line of them guarding the airport. During the fighting, the airport’s defenders seized an anti-aircraft gun used by the militias and turned it against them, according to AP. A medical official said two people were killed, one from each side, and five wounded. He added: “Now Misrata is totally under control of the people, but we are worried because we squeezed between Sirte and Tripoli, which are strongholds of Gaddafi.”

• Tripoli – Pro-Gaddafi militiamen – a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries – have clamped down on the city since the Libyan leader went on state TV on Tuesday night and called on his supporters to take back the streets. Residents say militiamen roam Tripoli’s main avenues, firing the air, while neighbourhood watch groups have barricaded side streets trying to keep the fighters out and protesters lay low.

• Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, a cousin and close aide to the Libyan leader, announced he had defected to Egypt in protest against Gaddafi’s crackdown against protesters. Gaddafi’s son Saif claimed today that the reported death tolls have been exaggerated, although he didn’t provide his own figure. In a press conference aired on state TV, he said the number killed by police and the army had been limited and “talking about hundreds and thousands [killed] is a joke”.

SOURCE: The Guardian