Kadhafi tanks shell Libya’s third city Misrata: witnesses

Kadhafi tanks shell Libya’s third city Misrata: witnesses

Benghazi, Libya: Tanks shelled the centre of rebel-held Misrata on Sunday, a resident of Libya’s third biggest city said, warning of “carnage" if the international community did not intervene.

“Tanks are shelling the centre of the city, near the radio headquarters. We are also hearing heavy automatic weapon fire," the resident said on condition of anonymity. Firing was clearly audible over the telephone.

“The residents are not armed. If the international community doesn’t intervene quickly, there will be carnage."

The resident said it was clear that Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi “has declared war after the formation of the national council," referring to the setting up of a national authority by the rebellion’s leaders on Saturday.

And he denied Libyan TV reports that pro-Kadhafi forces had retaken a number of key towns that had fallen to the rebels, including Misrata.

“They are not in control of the city. The clashes going on now prove it," he said.

A rebel spokesman confirmed that Misrata was under intense fire from pro-Kadhafi forces and reported “casualties" but insisted the city was still in rebel hands.

“Kadhafi forces are shelling Misrata randomly. They are using mortars and rockets," said the spokesman who cannot be identified by name for security reasons.

“They are firing on protesters gathered at Midan Tahrir (Liberation Square)" in the city centre and tanks are also shelling houses as well,“ he said.