Tripoli, 12 October:
Three civilians have been killed in a bombardment on Bani Walid, according to a doctor working in the town. . . .[restrict]It is reported that 35 others were injured.
The fatalities occurred when a suspected Grad rocket hit their house close to the centre of Bani Walid on Wednesday.
“There was heavy fighting on Wednesday and also some fighting yesterday”, said Taha Mohammed, a doctor at Bani Walid hospital. “Three people have been killed, including an eight-year old boy, and perhaps seven or eight injured. None of the injuries are too serious”.
As with all previous attacks on the town, the recent bombardments came from the Mordum area, some 30 kilometres forward from the predominantly Misratan camp stationed at Bir Dufan.
A spokesman for the General Staff, Ali Sheikhi, was reported on Thursday by the Al-Watania TV channel as saying that clashes had started after Libya Shield Forces in the Mordum area came under attack on Wednesday.
He added that the Chief of Staff, Yusuf Mangoush, had ordered the Shield forces in Mordum to remain in position until further notice and that the same order has gone to other forces surrounding Bani Walid.
Heavy shelling also took place last Sunday and Monday, resulting in 56 patients being admitted to hospital in Bani Walid, 26 of those having reportedly been exposed to some form of gas.
Both the office of General Yusuf Mangoush and forces at Bir Dufan have denied having any gas in their possession, and it remains a strong possibility that any emissions were the result of some facility being hit during the bombardment as opposed to directly from the munitions themselves.
In that instance, all 26 casualties were admitted from the Mordum area. One man from Bani Walid was also killed during an attack on Mordum on 2 October, and several injured.
The deadline for Bani Walid to hand over those suspected of involvement in the death of Omran Shaban expired on 10 October, but General Mangoush is not believed to have authorised the most recent actions against Bani Walid, having previously confirmed to the Libya Herald that the pre-10 October assaults were unauthorised.
The General Staff spokesman indicated the troops stationed around Bani Walid would stay in position until a political decision was made expressed regarding Bani Walid. The hope was that the situation be resolved by mediation before military action became necessary.
Sheikhi denied that the Libyan army was stopping food or medicines getting into Bani Walid. On the contrary, he said, strict instructions had been given not to prevent the movement of such supplies. The army’s role for the moment, he insisted, was to prevent weapons and ammunition getting in which might then be used against the armed forces.