“Doctors report 17 dead in Libyan city of Zawiya”

February 25, 2011

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) — Doctors at a field hospital in Martyrs Square in Zawiya said Friday that 17 people were killed and another 150 were wounded when government forces attacked the city. They predicted the death toll would rise by morning. Six pro-regime soldiers who were captured said they had been told that the city was being run by Arab militants and it was their job to liberate it, according to the doctors, who asked not to be identified. The soldiers added that they had been misled so that they would fight against their countrymen, the doctors said. By the end of the day, the situation was calm in the seaside city, they said. The casualties were announced shortly after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi accused followers of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden of brainwashing the youth of Zawiya with hallucinogenic drugs, resulting in the unrest. “They put it with milk or with other drinks, spiked drinks,” he said. After taking the tablets, “they attack this police station or that one so they can steal from there the criminal records.” He pleaded with the protesters’ mothers to track them down in the streets of the coastal town about 55 kilometers (about 35 miles) west of Tripoli and take them home. He added that he had ordered an end to the violence there, but his order upset his security forces. “They told me they are being shot at and they were doing it in self-defense,” Gadhafi said. “Why do you give us orders to stop?”

>>> Continued on Libya page <<<

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