World Bulletin / News Desk
Shelling by Libyan pro-government forces has killed three people including a child in the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, a local militia leader said on Tuesday.
The hilltop town was one of the last to surrender last year to the rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. It has come back into focus with the death two weeks ago of rebel fighter Omran Shaban after two months of detention in Bani Walid.
Shaban, from nearby Misrata, was the man who found Gaddafi hiding in a drain. Libya's embryonic parliament, the national congress, had ordered the defence and interior ministries to find those who abducted Shaban and were suspected of torturing him to death, and given Bani Walid's militias until last Friday to hand them over.
While the threat of a direct assault on the town appeared to have been postponed, militias operating alongside the Defence Ministry, notably from Misrata, took up positions on the outskirts.
Colonel Salem al-Wa'er, a spokesman for Bani Walid's fighters, said shelling was coming from the area of al-Mardum, about 25 km (15 miles) along the road to Misrata.
"A little girl died in the shelling by tank rounds and seven others are in the hospital injured," he said by phone from inside Bani Walid, adding that his fighters were returning fire. He later said two more people had been killed.
A Misrata hospital official told Reuters that nine fighters from Misrata had been injured in counterattacks from Bani Walid.
The tensions between Misrata and Bani Walid underline the challenge Libya's new rulers face in reconciling groups with long-running grievances and embracing those who chose not to back the revolt - whether out of fear, or because they supported Gaddafi or benefited from his rule.
While Misrata spent weeks under siege by Gaddafi's forces during last year's fighting, Bani Walid, 140 km (90 miles) away, was one of those that remained loyal to Gaddafi longest.
The town of around 70,000 people remains isolated from the rest of Libya and former rebels say it still harbours pockets of support for the old regime.
With the police and courts weak, and guns readily available, Libyans have been settling their own scores since the revolution and clashes have been frequent between former rebels and clans that backed Gaddafi or stayed on the sidelines.
The loan aims to cover the cost of reforms intending to improve the business climate in the Balkan country, resume the privatisation and restructuring of public enterprises, and slow down a rise in public debt
Leading human rights group Amnesty International has criticized a dozen European countries for complicity in Egypt’s crackdown on dissent through their arms exports to the African country.
Ahead of rumored ‘savage’ inquiry into his conduct, former British PM admits mistakes were made in Iraq war
The Democratic Party frontrunner maintains small margin in national poll
Eurozone finance ministers reached a vital deal with Greece after marathon talks to unlock 10.3 billion euros in bailout cash and start debt relief
Throngs of protesters gathered outside arally in Albuquerque and several protesters were escorted out as police clashed with protestors
Ban Ki-moon says absence of G7 leaders, except Germany's Merkel, at World Humanitarian Summit is 'no excuse for inaction'
Praising Turkey's 'brilliant' hosting of the humanitarian summit, Ukraine's president laments the 'disaster' in his country
Attorney General cites nature, resulting harm of crime as factors in decision
International Organization for Migration chief says 'refugees bring a lot of motivation'
Stockholm-based course will 'have both the Swedish perspective, and also Muslim knowledge' says school principal
Shelling comes amid ongoing campaign to wrest war-battered city from ISIL
According to Rami Hamdallah, Israeli PM Netanyahu is only 'trying to buy time'
'The agreement will allow Sudan to build in the future a nuclear plant to generate nuclear energy for peaceful use,' Sudanese electricity ministry says
A US surveillance plane had its transponders turned off during anincident near the Russian border
Britain has granted refugee status to former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed who was imprisoned in 2015 after a trial that drew international criticism