NATO: Gaddafi's Forces Firing on Civilians

The head of NATO’s military operation in Libya said Monday that forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi are attacking civilians in Misrata—both from inside hospitals and randomly firing from the roofs of mosques. The third largest city in Libya, Misrata has been under siege by Gaddafi’s forces for seven weeks, with evacuees reporting increasingly desperate conditions. “There is some suffering, but I can assure you of one thing: The suffering would have been much much greater if we [NATO] were not there,” said NATO Lt. General Charles Bouchard. A United Nations humanitarian representative said earlier Monday that the Libyan government had promised her access to Misrata, but with no guarantees that Gaddafi would halt the assault. A Libyan official said the government is willing to set up a “safe passage” into the city, despite reports from civilians that they are being pounded by rockets and artillery.