Libyan city of Misrata reported to be secure after Gaddafi forces retreat

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Airstrikes in the Libyan city of Misrata are reported to have forced pro-government forces to retreat after a multi-day assault on the city.

Early on Wednesday, aircraft from allied countries began flying sorties over the city and dropping bombs. The strikes destroyed much of the equipment of government forces, including tanks and artillery, and after about twelve hours pro-Gaddafi troops retreated from the area.

All troops save individual snipers are reported to have left Misrata, marking the end of five days of attacks by government forces seeking to retake control of the city. The assault has reportedly killed close to a hundred people.

According to a witness, Mohammed Ali, who works at the main hospital, aircraft "bombed a lot of sites of the Gaddafi army. There is a former hospital where his tanks were based. All the tanks and the hospital were destroyed. A column of tanks was destroyed on the edge of the city. [...] All that is left is [sic] the snipers and our fighters can take care of them."

He went on to say that 94 people have died since government forces began their attack on the city, with more than 1,300 having been injured.