Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi are hiding tanks and artillery and using “shoot and scoot” tactics in Misrata, frustrating NATO air efforts to break a weeks-long siege of the rebel-held Libyan city.
Despite repeated bombing raids by the Western alliance, Qaddafi loyalists continue to lay siege to the city and its vital port — making it one of the bloodiest battlefields of Libya’s two-month-old conflict.
Rebels say pro-Qaddafi forces are concealing tanks in buildings and artillery beneath trees, firing from civilian-populated areas and near mosques.
“NATO can’t strike those places,” said Safieddin, a rebel spokesman in the city.
Government forces have abandoned the city center to the rebels, but are entrenched in the built-up outskirts, sometimes firing from the open and scuttling for cover between buildings.
“There are houses there. It’s not as densely populated as downtown Misrata, but still it’s the city,” NATO’s senior military officer, Admiral Giampaolo di Paula, said. “So therefore they are still continuing to use the tactics of shoot and scoot and that’s why we need to continue to systematically degrade their military firepower.”
On Saturday, pro-Qaddafi artillery strikes destroyed four fuel storage tanks in Misrata, insurgents said, leaving the city facing fuel shortages.
“NATO is working, but Qaddafi’s forces are also working,” said a second rebel spokesman in Misrata, named Abdelsalam.
“NATO has been more successful at destroying troops and military vehicles on the move than static forces,” he said. “Every tank or rocket battery destroyed by NATO is immediately replaced. Add to this that they have been hiding tanks in the sand and inside buildings and that they fire artillery rounds from under trees.”
Rebels and residents say the government forces’ snipers and mercenaries, many of them sub-Saharan African migrants forced to fight, are holed up in buildings, firing freely.
Libyan officials deny that government forces are attacking civilians in Misrata and say they are fighting armed gangs linked al-Qaeda. Media access is limited, making it difficult to verify reports from battle zones.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
CAUTION: Taiwan had zero cases of death from food poisoning for six years until last year, when two people died after eating wildlife, an FDA official said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged the public not to eat wildlife or unidentified wild plants, as they could be fatal, with nearly 7,000 people affected by food poisoning last year, including two deaths due to wildlife consumption. The number of food poisoning incidents increased by nearly 50 percent last year, from 398 cases involving 4,616 people in the previous year to 503 cases involving 6,944 people, FDA data showed. That figure was the second-highest in history, the FDA said, adding that the highest number was recorded in 1997, with 7,235 people. Among the 503 cases, 87 were food poisoning clusters