NATO Warplanes Target Sirte, Hunt Continues for Gadhafi
3:30 p.m. ET | 200 bodies were discovered at a hospital in Tripoli, though the exact circumstances of their deaths was not yet known. According to the BBC,
A BBC correspondent found corpses of men, women and children on beds and in the corridors of Abu Salim’s hospital.
Doctors and nurses fled after clashes erupted nearby between rebel forces and those loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi.
Libyan rebels celebrate as they raise their flag, in foreground, at the Abu Salim square in Tripoli on Friday. Photo by Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.
As rebel forces continued to fight patches of loyalist resistance in Tripoli, the battle for Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown and stronghold of Sirte was intensified by NATO warplanes targeting the leader’s assets, including a bunker and armored vehicles.
Rebels said they are trying to negotiate an end to the fighting in Sirte. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said his nation, which has supplied warplanes, would continue to support rebel operations in that area.
The rebel National Transitional Council is taking steps to establish a government and move its headquarters from Benghazi into Tripoli. It has asked the United Nations and countries that hold Libyan assets to unfreeze billions of dollars for aid and supplies. The U.N. Security Council approved the unfreezing of $1.5 billion on Thursday, after the United States and South Africa reached a deal. South Africa had objected to unfreezing the money because it has yet to officially recognize the Libyan Transitional National Council.
In Tripoli, there are reports of a growing humanitarian crisis, with hospitals inundated with the wounded. In one hospital in the Abu Salim neighborhood, which was the focus of intense fighting Thursday, “[F]loors were covered with shattered glass and bloodstains, and medical equipment was strewn about,” according to the Associated Press.
The U.N. said it will investigate reports of human rights abuses, including the torture and killing of prisoners in Tripoli as rebels advanced toward the city. Bodies of men who had their hands bound and appeared to have been executed were also found in Tripoli.
Gadhafi continues to elude rebel and NATO forces. He broadcast a defiant audio message Thursday calling on on Libyans to “fight and destroy” rebels in Tripoli.