Fierce Fighting In Sirte

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FIERCE fighting continued on the outskirts of Sirte yesterday, with Gadaffi loyalists dealing deadly blows against the counter-revolutionary ‘NTC’ mercenaries, while NATO warplanes pounded the city.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent warned that treating the injured was ‘becoming impossible’ when their teams entered the city for a brief period on Saturday.

Red Crescent representative, Dibeh Fakhr, said: ‘There are shortages of doctors, medical instruments, oxygen cylinders and even the water storage has been affected. The hospital is suffering and so are the doctors.’

International Committee of the Red Cross team leader Hichem Khadhraoui said: ‘It’s a dire situation. Wounded or ill people cannot get to Sirte’s Ibn Sina hospital because of the fighting and NATO air strikes.

‘Several rockets landed within the hospital buildings while we were there. We saw a lot of indiscriminate fire. I don’t know where it was coming from.’

After the ICRC team went in on Saturday, NTC terrorists launched an attack with rockets, anti-tank cannons and machine-gun fire from a position less than a kilometre from the hospital. Gadaffi loyalists responded with mortar and sniper fire.

‘We were surprised,’ Khadhraoui said, adding that they had ‘contacted all parties to say we were going in.’

Residents fleeing Sirte reported civilian casualties when residential buildings were hit, either by artillery fire from the besieging NTC mercenaries, or by NATO air strikes.

A rocket killed two children on Saturday when their family joined others fleeing the city.

The children ‘were torn to pieces’, said Ahmed Abu Aid, a field medic on the western side of Sirte. ‘They collected the body parts in bags.’