At least 17 people were killed Friday as fighting raged in the western Libyan city of Misrata where forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi attempted to enter from the west and south.
More than 60 others were injured, said Dr. Khaled Abu Falgha of Hekma hospital in Misrata. He said the casualties Friday were the heaviest suffered in the past month.
Rebel forces at a checkpoint near the western front line said at least seven of the dead were killed in fighting in the Dafniya area, where pro-Gadhafi forces pushed in with at least three tanks firing at rebel positions.
“It is horrible out there,” said a rebel fighter as he sped by. “The revolutionaries are taking tank power in their chests.”
The city was continuously bombarded Friday afternoon.
Misrata has borne the brunt of the fighting for the past two months. More than 1,000 people are believed to have been killed since early February, including 686 civilians who lived in the city.
Gadhafi’s forces laid siege to Misrata and cut off all land access — the only escape route is by sea. They retreated to the perimeters but are trying to regain control of the city, only about 130 miles east of Tripoli.