Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Libya's Zlitan increasingly in rebel, NATO sights

Firefighters battled a blaze caused by NATO airstrikes at a food-storage complex Monday in Zlitan, increasingly a front-line city in the conflict between Libyan government troops and rebels fighting to oust longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

The firefighters doused burning sacks of flour with water after bombs punctured the high roofs of three facilities packed with flour, rice and cooking oil in Zlitan, on the Libyan coast east of Tripoli. An unexploded bomb lay buried in the concrete floor of one of the buildings, beneath a hole in the ceiling where sunlight streamed through.

Zlitan is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the opposition-held port city of Misrata, and the front line between the rebels and pro-regime forces is somewhere in between the two cities. Smoke rising on the horizon and the rumble of artillery in the east suggested that by Monday, the fighting had moved closer to the city limits.

"It's continuous bombing, morning day and night," said Fathi Amar, who stood armed with a radio and camouflage uniform at the entrance to the burning storage center.

No one was hurt in Monday's attack, Amar said. But he said five guards had been killed in another bombing run that struck the agricultural police center next door on Saturday, leaving little more than a heap of rubble. And another attack two days ago demolished what he described as a military base several hundred yards up the road, killing at least two people, he said. (more)