News / Middle East

Five Killed in Misrata Siege, IOM Evacuates Wounded

Injured Libyan lays in an intensive care until at Hikma hospital in the besieged city of Misrata, Libya, May 3, 2011
Injured Libyan lays in an intensive care until at Hikma hospital in the besieged city of Misrata, Libya, May 3, 2011

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi shelled the besieged western rebel-held port of Misrata on Wednesday, as aid workers scrambled to evacuate hundreds of migrants and wounded civilians.

A rebel spokesman says the shelling killed at least five people.

A ship chartered by the International Organization for Migration docked amid the shelling Wednesday, and workers boarded evacuees and delivered basic supplies ashore.

The ship had waited offshore since Saturday as NATO minesweepers finished searching for mines drifting near the harbor.

In New York, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the United Nations Security Council that he has evidence Libya's government committed war crimes.

Moreno-Ocampo said he will seek warrants against three Libyans who bear "the greatest criminal responsibility" for crimes against humanity.

The ICC prosecutor said Libyan forces shot and killed peaceful protesters. He said evidence also suggests Libya hired mercenaries to come into the country as early as January. Libya also removed bodies from hospitals and prevented doctors from documenting the number of dead.  

Hundreds have died during the past two months in Misrata, the major stronghold of rebels trapped in the mostly-Gadhafi-controlled west.

Forces loyal to the Libyan leader also fired rockets at the western town of Zintan on Wednesday.

In the east, rebel reinforcements continued to arrive in the strategic city of Ajdabiya. The Associated Press  reports that Gadhafi's forces held their position some 50 kilometers away.

On Thursday, members of the 22-nation Libya Contact Group plan to meet in Rome to explore ways to help finance Libyan rebels. The group  also will discuss possible diplomatic solutions to the crisis.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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