ZWARA, Libya — Arab fighters, apparently from the nearby towns of Jumyl and Ragdelin, which remain loyal to the defeated Colonel Qaddafi, are shelling Zwara, a Berber port city located in Libya’s far northwest, less than 40 miles from Tunisia.
General Sensussi Mahrez, the highest-ranking military officer in the western coastal region to defect from the Qaddafi forces during the war last June, told me that the fighting broke out on Sunday. As I sit in his home in Zwara, I can see where shells exploded just 100 yards away yesterday. One fell on a school, but because this is a vacation week no one was hurt.
Fighters tell me that the shelling of Zwara has been steady for two days. Skirmishes outside of town today have apparently left eight Zwari fighters dead, and more than 100 were treated at the town’s little hospital, normally staffed by just a half dozen GPs. Today, a couple dozen volunteer doctors from Tripoli and Zawiya poured in to treat the wounded. An air ambulance took 15 critically wounded to Tripoli and about 60 others were transported by ambulance to bigger hospitals in Zawiya and Tripoli.