Rooting out Gaddafi’s snipers in Misrata
FRANCE 24 correspondents report from the western Libyan city of Misrata as they follow anti-regime rebels, caught up in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the hidden danger of Muammar Gaddafi’s snipers.
Every crossroads is a potential deathtrap in Misrata, as snipers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi scan every open space in search of a kill.
The siege is a deadly game of cat and mouse – a moment’s lapse of concentration can mean instant death.
FRANCE 24’s special correspondents in Misrata, Mathieu Mabin and Alexandra Renard, have been following rebel fighters as they try to hunt down Gaddafi snipers in Libya’s third-largest city, whose 550,000 residents watch and wait for the outcome of weeks of fighting.
The lightly armed rebels exploit the town’s narrow alleyways to keep out of sight. But while the city’s thicker walls can protect them from the sniper rounds, gunfire can penetrate some of the thinner, cinderblock constructions.
“Gaddafi's soldiers are just there,” whispers one man. “We can shoot at them through there,” he says, indicating a jagged hole in the wall.
The fighters open up on an enemy position in a blaze of fire from their AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
One less sniper, perhaps – but many more are lurking around Tripoli Street in Misrata’s old town, the rebel fighters say.
The fight is far from over. Amid the shooting, families wait for a brief respite as the streets fill with the debris of war.
While the rebels made brief gains by taking over several of Libya’s western cities last month, Misrata is the only major population centre that remains under partial rebel control.