The New York Times reports:
Military forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi scattered antitank land mines on the port of this besieged city late Thursday night, threatening once more to close the city’s only route for evacuation and supplies, according to accounts of witnesses, photographs and physical evidence collected on the ground.
The land mines were delivered by a Chinese-made variant of a Grad rocket that opens in flight and drops mines to the ground below, each slowed slightly and oriented for arming by a small green parachute, according to an identification of the sub-munitions by specialists who were provided photographs and dimensions of the weapons.
The mines hit the port at 9 or 10 p.m. Thursday, after rockets were heard being fired on the city from the southeast. A short while later, a truck driven by rebels who were patrolling the harbor struck two of them. Both men inside were wounded, according to a port supervisor and one of the victims, Faisal el-Mahrougi, the driver.
Officials and guards said more than 20 mines were distributed in the attack, and remains of at least 13 were observed firsthand. It was not possible to verify an exact number, as many had been destroyed by rebels who, to clear the mines, shot them with rifles, causing them to explode. By nightfall on Friday, the port appeared to have been cleared.
Amnesty International says:
Attacks by forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi on civilian and residential areas of Misratah may amount to war crimes, Amnesty International said today in a new report on the bleak situation in the besieged city.
Misratah: Under Siege and Under Fire [PDF] accuses al-Gaddafi forces of unlawful killing of civilians due to indiscriminate attacks, including use of heavy artillery, rockets and cluster bombs in civilian areas and sniper fire against residents.
It also documents systematic shooting at peaceful protesters and enforced disappearance of perceived opponents, which can amount to crimes against humanity.
Mansour M Elbabour writes:
Of all the generalizations commonly made by foreign observers and subjectively augmented by Gaddafi about Libya, especially during the people’s present remarkable quest for freedom and democracy, one of the least valid is that tribalism is pervasive in the Libyan society and its politics.
Characteristically, Libya is the most homogeneous, both culturally and religiously, in Africa and the Arab world. The tribal structure is merely a social phenomenon and has no fundamental importance aside from being only a thing of the past, a part of the cultural lore of the people and their history.
There is no lack of effective sense of national unity in Libya. This unity has been formally initiated by Independence and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and subsequently preserved by astute political awareness on the part of the citizens and a deep sense of common destiny. Thus, conscious of their identity as an independent political unit, the Libyan people all over the liberated regions of the country are relentlessly and genuinely sounding their voice in their peaceful demonstrations nowadays that “Libya is one nation, one clan, one family” and that the myth of tribalism exists only in the mind of the dictator and his few deceived followers.
Furthermore, the appearance and amazing proliferation of the constitutional flag, the symbol of national independence, fluttering almost everywhere in great numbers and shapes, bear unmistakable witness to such unity.