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Anger and shelling rumble on in Libya

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Anger and shelling rumble on in Libya


There has been more shelling of the Libyan port of Misrata and heightened anger in the capital Tripoli as the conflict between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces shows no sign of abating.
Misrata, a town held by rebels and an entry point for humanitarian aid supplies, has been hit by hundreds of rockets since Sunday. 
Libyan state television claims the attacks are to prevent weapons being shipped in to help the rebels. Ships are waiting off the coast to deliver supplies and evacuate Libyan and foreign civilians. One rebel spokesman said that the barrage of rockets is proving “disastrous”.
Rights groups say that hundreds of people have been killed in Misrata in weeks of shelling and street firefights.
Around 200 kilometres further east in Tripoli, supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi came out in their thousands for the funeral of one of Gaddafi’s sons.
Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was killed in a NATO air strike on Saturday, along with three of his young nieces and nephews. Gaddafi himself was said to have been inside the bombed compound but reportedly escaped the attack unhurt.
Around 2,000 Gaddafi loyalists took to the streets, chanting and carrying banners celebrating their leader. Angry crowds attacked the French and British embassies. Growing tensions in Tripoli prompted the United Nations to withdraw all personnel from the city on Monday.
NATO insists its bombs struck a valid military target, a command and control centre. Libyan officials say the strikes were a deliberate attempt to assassinate Gaddafi himself.
South Africa has joined a growing list of countries, including China and Russia, that have criticised the air strikes. The South African government released a statement saying “the attacks on leaders and officials can only result in the escalation of tensions and conflicts on all sides and make future reconciliation difficult.”
Saturday’s air strikes in Tripoli have led to a debate over whether the French and British-led action exceeds the original UN mandate to protect civilians.

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