Gaddafi forces attack Misrata as NATO vows no let-up

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Libyan embattled President Muammar Gaddafi
Benghazi, Jun 9: Muammar Gaddafi's forces attacked Libya's third-largest city Misrata on Wednesday, June 8 drawing no response from NATO despite a pledge by the alliance to press its air war, a rebel spokesman said.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 Gaddafi troops attacked the Mediterranean port city from the south, west and east, killing 10 rebel fighters and wounding 26, the spokesman Hassan al-Galai, told AFP by telephone from the city.

Despite the deployment of tanks, Grad rocket launchers and heavy artillery, there had been no intervention by NATO led aircraft by 6:00 pm (2130 IST) when the fighting was still raging, Galai said. Misrata is the rebels' most significant enclave in western Libya.

On May 12, the rebels scored a major victory when they secured the airport, effectively ending a two-month siege of the city by pushing Gaddafi''s forces beyond rocket range.

NATO allies meeting in Brussels pledged to stay in Libya "for as long as necessary" and commit the "necessary means" to the military campaign against Gaddafi's forces.

After NATO extended the operation for another 90 days through late September, alliance defence ministers issued a joint statement pledging their determination to continue the mission "for as long as necessary."

They said they were "committed to providing the necessary means and maximum operational flexibility within our mandate to sustain these efforts and welcome additional contributions to our common efforts."

AFP

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