March 23rd, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Gadhafi troops attack main hospital in Misrata

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Despite coalition airstrikes, troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continued to terrorize residents of the besieged rebel-held city of Misrata Wednesday.

In the city's main hospital, where 400 people - about half of them patients - were located, one witness said Gadhafi's forces had attacked. The push began at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), when "heavy tanks for Gadhafi troops start attacking the hospital - the bombs falling here 20 meters (66 feet) around us," said one person inside the hospital. He said two deaths had occurred "around the hospital."

At one point, shelling occurred without respite for 40 minutes, he said. "Now, fortunately, no more shelling, but the situation is so serious that all the teams here - the doctors, the patients - are paralyzed, scared."

He called for international intervention to protect the civilians inside the institution. "Nobody can work here," he said. All the doctors here are completely paralyzed." Ambulances were not able to leave the hospital, which had lost its electricity and was running on generator power, he said.

During the last day, the international coalition has flown 175 sorties over Libya - 113 of them by U.S. planes and the remainder from other nations participating in the U.N.-backed mission, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber told reporters Wednesday.

The Libyan air force has been crippled, and the no-fly zone spans Libya from east to west along its coastline, said Hueber, the chief of staff for U.S. operations. But the coalition has had no indication that Gadhafi was complying with a United Nations mandate to stop attacks against civilians.

With Gadhafi's air power rendered ineffective, coalition airstrikes were focusing on his ground forces in Ajdabiya and Misrata.

Coalition jets are using smart bombs to target mechanized forces and mobile surface-to-air missile sites and impede supply lines for their "beans and bullets," Hueber said. The targets include Libya's premier 32nd Brigade, commanded by one of Gadhafi's sons and fully engaged in the fighting.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Jim Mooney

    You have to admit Gaddafi is retarded. He keeps giving wonderful reasons for us to bomb him, like attacking a hospital, hiring mercenaries to shoot the wounded from disguised ambulances, shooting into peaceful crowds, etc.

    But then he's always gotten away with this sort of behavior. Looks like that isn't happening any more.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  2. Jim Kendall

    All this talk of American's resenting involvement in Libya: I'm looking at it as our "karmic"-responsibility to help relieve the Libyan dilemma; for it was all the decades of our buying his oil (which that "King of Kings" kept to-himself, & let the Libyans starve) that paid-into building up of Gaddafi's bully-power.
    As WE participated unwittingly in the creation of this monster Gaddafi – by way of purchasing his oil, & enriching his war chest – we MUST participate in his decisive dissolution.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  3. Mohamed

    Today two Snipers have been captured in the city of Misrata, both of them are females of a Colombian background

    March 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm |