Forces loyal to the embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi have been heavily shelling residential areas in Libya’s eastern town of Ajdabiyah, as their offensive against revolutionaries east of the country continues.
The areas came under heavy artillery bombardment on Thursday after Gaddafi forces launched a major attack to retake the opposition-held town that fell out of the government’s control in early days of the revolution, Reuters reported.
“There is currently a heavy battle going on in the centre of Adjabiyah city, with strong bombardment, and residential areas are being destroyed,” opposition commander Hami al-Hassi said.
Earlier in the day, at least 30 people, among them women, children and elderly men, were killed in Ajdabiyah as revolutionary forces and Gaddafi’s troops engaged in clashes around the town.
Rising casualties, threats of hunger and a refugee crisis have exerted extra pressure on foreign governments to act.
The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss whether to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.
On Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties in the Libyan conflict to “accept an immediate ceasefire,” and that “those responsible for the continuous use of military force against civilians will be held accountable.”
Libyan anti-government forces, inspired by revolutions that managed to topple authoritarian rulers in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, are fighting to unseat Gaddafi after more than 41 years of despotic rule. Agencies