Artillery shells and rockets rained down on rebel-held Misrata on Monday, killing at least 12 people, as troops loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi who fled the city over the weekend continued to launch bloody air attacks.
Gadhafi’s fighters, stationed outside the western Libyan city, shelled a residential neighborhood and a hospital well into the evening.
The attacks left women and children dead, set a car ablaze, destroyed a house and terrified aging female hospital residents whose rooms were struck by shrapnel.
The rebels, a ragtag force of middle-class professionals and students, waged an effective guerrilla battle to expel Gadhafi’s fighters from inside the city, where they had taken up positions in the main commercial district and at a university campus. The rebels cut off the Gadhafi soldiers’ access to each other. Starting Thursday, Gadhafi’s soldiers, low on weapons and food, retreated to encampments that ring Misrata.
Gadhafi’s government said late Friday it was handing the fight over to local tribes, but there was no sign of any assault by tribes on Misrata. Instead, Gadhafi’s fighters began to fire rockets and artillery randomly into the once wealthy port, now decimated by war.