Libyan Government circle tightens as insane Gaddafi fights on with hired mercenaries
Thousands of mercenary and irregular forces struck back at a tightening circle of rebellions around the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday, trying to fend off an uprising against the 40-year rule of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, who blamed the violence on “hallucinogenic” drugs and Osama bin Laden.
The fighting on Thursday centered on Zawiya, a gateway city to the capital, just 30 miles west of Tripoli, where government opponents had briefly claimed victory. Colonel Qaddafi’s forces — a mixture of special brigades and African mercenaries — fought back, blasting a mosque that had been used as a refuge by protesters, a witness told The Associated Press.
An exiled Libyan who had been in contact with members of the opposition in Zawiya said Colonel Qaddafi’s forces attacked beginning about 5 a.m., initiating a battle that lasted 4 hours. The rebel forces fought back with hunting rifles and about 100 were killed, he said.