Nato steps up attack on Libya

Nato steps up attack on Libya

Daughter rules out stepping down of Gadhafi as clashes kill 8

For the second day in a row, pro-Gadhafi forces pounded Misrata, killing at least eight people.

A local doctor said seven other civilians, including children and older people, were wounded on Friday in the attacks on Libya’s third-biggest city that has been the scene of major fighting between rebels and Gadhafi’s forces for several weeks.

Al-Jazeera quoted residents as saying that around 120 rockets shelled Misrata. Pro-government troops also shelled the coastal city on Thursday, with dozens of Grad-type rockets, killing at least 23 people, the Arab channel quoted a rebel spokesman as saying.

Gadhafi’s forces also opened fire on rebels near the frontline of Ajdabiya, the gateway to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, killing one, opposition fighters said.

Even as the 28-member Nato alliance squabbled over intensifying the military operations, it launched three new airstrikes in and around the Libyan capital, striking a missile battery and two other targets.

France and Britain want to extend air strikes to the logistics and decision centres of Gadhafi’s army, rather than start arming Libyan rebels, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet was quoted as saying by the pan-Arab channel on Friday. Amid differences among world powers over the airstrikes in Libya, US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron made it clear that there can be no peace in the country till Gadhafi stepped down.

However, the Libyan leader’s daughter Aisha dismissed “talk about Gadhafi stepping down”, saying it was “an insult to all Libyans because Gadhafi is not in Libya, but in the hearts of all Libyans”.

From her father’s compound, struck by US bombs exactly 25 years ago, Muammar Gadhafi’s daughter sent a defiant message early on Friday: Libya was not defeated by airstrikes then and won’t be defeated now, she told a cheering crowd. Aisha pumped her right fist as she led the audience in late-night chants from the second-floor balcony of the badly damaged Bab Aziziyah compound, targeted by US warplanes in 1986. “Leave our skies with your bombs,” she said, referring to Nato airstrikes that had struck Tripoli just hours earlier.

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