Cairo, Feb 25 (IANS) At least 17 people were killed and 150 injured when government forces attacked Libya’s Al-Zawiya town, a media report said Friday.
According to CNN, doctors at a hospital in Martyrs Square in Al Zawiya said that 17 people have died in Thursday’s attack and that the toll would rise further. The town is about 50 km from capital Tripoli.
Six pro-government troops who were captured by the residents admitted that they had been told the city was being run by Arab militants and it was their job to liberate it, said the doctors who did not wish to be indentified.
The Libyan government has seen defection of its security forces and resignation of diplomats since the mass uprising began Feb 14.
The state TV said a total of 300 people, including 111 soldiers, were killed in the unrest during the past week.
The captured soldiers said that they had been misled so that they would fight against their countrymen, the doctors said.
The casualties were reported shortly after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi accused Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his men of brainwashing the youth to take out protests.
Gaddafi expressed condolences towards the families of the dead and injured in Al Zawiya.
“These are our children,” he was quoted as saying. “We are quite upset about the senseless loss of lives.”
Gadhafi said Libya has peaceful ways for its citizens to address their grievances.
“We are not like Egypt or Tunisia,” he said, referring to the two countries that have ousted their leaders in recent weeks.
“Here, the authority is in the hands of the people. You can change your authority, just make committees. And if you think they are corrupt, take them to court. Prosecute them,” he added.