Libya rebels say Nato must stop Misrata 'massacre'

Libyan rebels begged for more Nato air strikes today, saying they faced a massacre from government artillery barrages on the besieged city of Misrata, but Western allies squabbled over the air campaign.



Rebels said a hail of Grad rockets fired by besieging forces into a residential district of Misrata, Libya's third largest city, had killed 23 civilians, mostly women and children.



Aid organisations warn of a humanitarian disaster in Misrata, the lone rebel bastion in western Libya, where hundreds of civilians are said to have died in a six-week siege.



US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern at a Nato meeting in Berlin over "atrocities" in Misrata but gave no hint Washington was prepared to re-engage in air strikes.



Reflecting concern over strains in the alliance, Clinton called for Nato to maintain "resolve and unity" against Muammar Gaddafi, saying he was trying to test Western resolve.



Several Nato members rebuffed calls from France and Britain to contribute more to the air attacks, conducted under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians and US officials said allied commanders were not requesting greater resources.



"A massacre...will take place here if Nato does not intervene strongly," a rebel spokesman in Misrata told Reuters by phone. Reports of casualties are hard to verify independently because journalists cannot reach the area.



Al Jazeera television showed hundreds of residents demonstrating after the dawn attack. "The blood of martyrs will not be in vain," they chanted, waving the rebel flag.







Five so-called BRICS emerging powers - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - expressed misgivings about Nato air strikes after talks in China and urged an end to the two-month civil war.



Their criticism contrasted with the first joint call for Gaddafi's overthrow from a group of Middle Eastern and Western countries meeting in Qatar yesterday.



In its strongest language yet, the international "contact group" on Libya demanded that Gaddafi leave power and voiced support for the rebels.



Some military analysts believe US specialist ground attack aircraft could tip the balance in Libya, allowing precision strikes on Gaddafi's armour with less risk of hitting civilians. But Washington has taken a back seat after handing command to Nato on March 31.



French Defence Minister Minister Gerard Longuet said this week Gaddafi's attacks would not be stopped without US participation in strikes on his tanks and artillery. A French official cited Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden among other allies who could do more.



But Spain said it had no plan to join the seven Nato states that have conducted ground strikes while Italy, Libya's former colonial power, expressed reluctance to launch attacks.



Amid a flurry of international diplomacy over Libya, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Arab League head Amr Moussa and officials from the African Union and Organisation of the Islamic Conference discussed the war at a meeting in Cairo today.



A few dozen pro and anti-Gaddafi protesters demonstrated outside the meeting at Arab League headquarters.



Ban expressed grave concern over the escalation of violence in Libya and called for a ceasefire and the relief of besieged cities. The longer fighting went on, the more difficult a political solution would be, he said.



Clinton said in Berlin there could be no viable political transition until Gaddafi left power.







Britain and France are leading air strikes against Gaddafi's forces, but have grown frustrated with the lack of support from their allies. Nato says it is still short of about 10 aircraft a day for strikes.



Nato members are also divided over meeting a rebel request for weapons. Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said this was not allowed under the UN resolution authorising military action but other nations suggested it could be possible.



The rebels said they were in talks with "friendly" countries to obtain arms: "I don't think there will be a problem getting weapons," national council spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga told reporters in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.



Juppe said in Berlin that France was not currently in favour of arming the rebels and the Nato campaign would not be enough to topple Gaddafi. A political solution was essential, he said.



Qatar, a leading Arab supporter of the uprising, hinted yesterday that it might arm the rebels.



Britain says it will supply them with 1,000 sets of body armour from surplus supplies on top of 100 satellite phones already sent.



Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone