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Gaddafi forces kill 22 rebels

Libyan government forces have pounded the outskirts of the rebel-held city of Misrata, killing at least 22 people, a hospital physician said.

world Updated: Jun 11, 2011 14:18 IST

Libyan government forces have pounded the outskirts of the rebel-held city of Misrata, killing at least 22 people, a hospital physician said.

The doctor at Hikma Hospital, who would only give his first name, Ayman, said Muammar Gaddafi 's forces used tanks, artillery and incendiary rockets on Friday in the bombardment of Dafniya, about 18 miles west of Misrata.

He said at least 61 people were wounded in the attacks which began about 10 am local time.

Gaddafi forces had renewed their shelling near Misrata on Wednesday.

The city is one of the few footholds rebels have in western Libya and controls the country's largest port.

The doctor said residents had reported no sign of NATO aircraft in the Misrata region.

There also were no reports NATO strikes in Tripoli, the capital.

NATO had been pounding Tripoli and environs in recent days, stepping up backing for the four-month-old rebel uprising that seeks to oust Gaddafi from power after four decades.

Rebels have taken control of swaths of eastern Libya, although fighting has since come to a stalemate even with NATO support.

Misrata remained one of the most important rebel footholds in the Gaddafi controlled west.

Government forces are surrounding Misrata on all sides but the north, where the city has access to the Mediterranean Sea for supplies and food through Libya's major port.

Rebels have beaten back several government attempts to retake the city.

The Gaddafi forces are pushing back on rebel forces trying to break out of Misrata to the west toward Tripoli, where Gaddafi is increasingly cornered under NATO bombardment in the capital.