Allies say Gaddafi must go

A fresh hail of government rockets crashed into Misrata today after Western allies denounced a "medieval siege" of the city and vowed to keep bombing Muammar Gaddafi's forces until he stepped down





A local doctor told Al Jazeera at least eight people died and seven others were wounded in the second day of intense bombardment of Misrata, a lone rebel bastion in western Libya.



Residents told the television network at least 120 rockets hit the city, where hundreds of civilians are reported to have died in a six-week siege.



The suffering of Misrata is heaping pressure on Western allies to step up air attacks to stop the bombardment, but Nato is split over providing more planes for the task.



"It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government," the leaders of Britain, France and the United States said in a joint newspaper article today.



Their clear intention to achieve regime change in Libya goes well beyond the terms of a United Nations resolution authorising air strikes to protect civilians.



Gaddafi's daughter Aisha told a rally in Tripoli that demanding his departure was an insult.



In a strongly worded article published on both sides of the Atlantic, Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama said leaving Gaddafi in power would be an "unconscionable betrayal".



"So long as Gaddafi is in power, Nato and its coalition partners must maintain their operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds," they said.



The statement seemed intended to both paper over cracks in the Atlantic alliance and increase resolve to stick with the air campaign despite increasing differences.







The United States has taken a back seat in the air campaign after handing command to Nato on March 31 and France has suggested it needs to return to the campaign.



This would bring to bear US precision ground attack aircraft that analysts say could tip the balance against Gaddafi while providing stronger safeguards against hitting civilians.



France and Britain, the Nato hawks on Libya, have led the air campaign but are growing impatient with lack of commitment and provision of ground strike aircraft from other members.



The leaders said in their article that Gaddafi could play no role in a genuine transition to democracy. "For that transition to succeed, Colonel Gaddafi must go, and go for good."



Aisha Gaddafi told a rally in Tripoli marking the 25th anniversary of American bombing of Gaddafi's compound there:



"Talk about Gaddafi stepping down is an insult to all Libyans because Gaddafi is not in Libya, but in the hearts of all Libyans."



On the fluid eastern front in Libya's two-month civil war, rebels said Gaddafi forces advancing from the oil port of Brega had opened fire on the western edge of the insurgent-held town of Ajdabiyah today, killing one of their fighters.



Fighter Mansour Rachid said Gaddafi's forces were spread out in the desert and hard to locate.



France and Britain want to extend air strikes to the government's logistics and decision-making centres, rather than arming rebels, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said.



Asked if it was time to send weapons to the rebels, Longuet said: "This is the reason France and Britain want to show our determination, including with strikes on military decision centres in Libya or on logistics depots which today are being spared."



The article by the Western allies appeared at a time when diplomatic efforts have failed to paper over divisions between Nato allies about how intensively they should prosecute the three-week-old air war, amid increasing stalemate on the ground.



Britain and France complain that other Nato allies have not provided enough fire power to take out Gaddafi's armour and allow the rebels in control of the east to sweep him from power.



The rebels have begged for more air strikes to avert what they say is a potential massacre in Misrata.



Nato planes bombed targets in Tripoli yesterday, where state television showed footage of a defiant Gaddafi cruising through the streets in a green safari jacket and sunglasses, pumping his fists and waving from an open-top vehicle.





The attack on Misrata today followed intense fire from Russian made Grad rocket launchers into a residential district yesterday when rebels said 23 people died, mostly women and children. They said more than 200 missiles fell in the port.



"They shelled this area because the port is Misrata's only window to the outside world," a rebel spokesman using the name Ghassan said by telephone.



"The destruction there was huge. I was there and saw for myself," he said, adding that the port had been shut. Thousands of foreign migrants are stranded in desperate conditions in the open in the port.



Aid organisations warn of a humanitarian disaster.



In their article, the US, British and French leaders said Misrata was "enduring a medieval siege as Gaddafi tries to strangle its population into submission".



At a Nato foreign ministers meeting in Berlin, several alliance members rebuffed calls from France and Britain to contribute more to the air attacks.



Al-Qa'ieda's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, has urged Muslims in a video message to fight Nato forces in Libya, according to the SITE monitoring group.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living