BREAKING: Turmoil In The Middle East
MSNBC.COM - At least 30 civilians were killed on Friday when security forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi tried to retake a town near the capital that has for days been defying his rule, two residents told Reuters.
A large force from a brigade led by one of Gadhafi's sons led the attack on Zawiya, the closest opposition-held city to Tripoli, a witness said. The troops from the Khamis Brigade — named after the son — attacked Zawiya's western side, firing mortars and then engaging in battles of heavy machine guns and automatic weapons with armed residents and allied army units, the witness added.
"I have been to hospital less than 15 minutes ago," a Zawiya resident identified only as Mohamed told Reuters by telephone. "Dozens were killed and more were wounded. We have counted 30 dead civilians. The hospital was full. They could not find space for the casualties."
Another resident, Ibrahim, told Reuters that between 40 and 50 people were killed in the clashes.
Their accounts could not be immediately verified. Citing a spokesman for the opposition, Reuters also reported that a rebel commander was killed in fighting in Zawiya on Friday.
Zawiya, about 30 miles west of Tripoli, has beaten back several assaults over the past week.
The reports came as Interpol delivered a global "Orange Notice" alert for Gadhafi and 15 members of his inner circle to help police worldwide enforce U.N. sanctions.
The Paris-based international police agency said information on Gadhafi and the other Libyan nationals would be circulated so that border agents could comply with travel bans and asset freezes set out under United Nations Security Council sanctions.
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