BENGHAZI - At least 17 more were killed in Thursday's fights and the death toll in Libya is sharply rising as armed force and militia fighters loyal to Col. Moammar Gaddafi used lethal force to suppress a increasing rebellion, while rebels took control of a new military base.
Thursday’s clashes, which included an attack by soldiers with automatic weapons in the city of Zawiya, 50 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, took 17 lives. The soldiers fired on a local mosque, where a witness told media that people had gathered for a sit-in to support protesters in Tripoli.
It has been hard to tell exact number of deaths due to government-imposed media restrictions and communication black-outs. But one doctor said he saw 10 dead bodies with gunshot wounds in the head and chest lying near the mosque, as well as another 150 wounded.
Meanwhile a Libyan news agency called Qureyna reported 23 dead, with many of the injured unable to reach nearby hospitals because of gunfire from "security forces and mercenaries."
The attack prompted thousands of protesters to flood into the town's central Martyrs Square, shouting for Gaddafi to leave.