Gadhafi unleashes rockets on Misrata

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“They misled us,” Mr. Misbah said of the government.

A senior Libyan government official has said the military is withdrawing from the fighting in Misrata, ostensibly to give a chance for tribal chiefs in the area to negotiate with the rebels. The official, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim, said the tribal chiefs were ready to send armed supporters to fight the rebels unless they lay down their weapons.

Mr. Kaim also claimed that the army has been holding its fire since Friday.

Rebels on Sunday dismissed government claims of a voluntary troop redeployment in Misrata.

“It’s not a withdrawal. It’s a defeat that they want to turn into propaganda,” said Dr. Abdel-Basit Abu Mzirig, head of the Misrata medical committee. “They were besieging the city, and then they had to leave.”

In addition to the casualties, thousands of people, many of them foreign workers, have been stranded in Misrata. Hundreds of migrants, along with wounded Libyans, have been evacuated in aid vessels through the port in recent days.

One of those wounded, Misrata resident Osama al-Shahmi, said Col. Gadhafi’s forces have been attacking the city with rockets. “They have no mercy. They are pounding the city hard,” said Mr. al-Shahmi after being rescued from Misrata.

“Everyone in Misrata is convinced that the dictator must go,” said Mr. al-Shahmi, 36, a construction company administrator who was wounded by shrapnel. His right leg wrapped in bandages, Mr. al-Shahmi flashed a victory sign as he was put into a waiting ambulance upon arrival in Benghazi.

In Rome, the pope told a crowd of more than 100,000 Easter pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square that he hopes “diplomacy and dialogue replace arms” in Libya and that humanitarian aid will get through to those in need.

Diaa Hadid reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Ben Hubbard in Benghazi, Libya; Sebastian Abbot in Ajdabiya, Libya; and Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this article.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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