Libyan Opposition Pleads For Military Humanitarian Intervention

Libyans are “being slaughtered every day by the Gadhafi forces,” rebel spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah told CNN on Tuesday.

Residents of besieged cities are not getting adequate help because aid agencies are afraid of going to areas such as Misrata, which is being targeted by Gadhafi troops daily, opposition activist Mohamed Ibrahim said.

“Some of them, they come. But most of them, they come near … they hear the shelling and everything and they go back,” he said.

At least 27 people have been killed and 142 have been injured this week, according to an opposition spokesman who wanted to be identified only as “Mohammed” for safety reasons.

On Wednesday, UNICEF — the United Nations’ children’s agency — said 20 children have been killed and “countless others injured” in Misrata alone.

Aid groups have been attempting to pluck desperate people from Misrata, which is hemmed in by Gadhafi’s forces on three sides.

The only escape route is by the city’s port — an area witnesses said has been shelled by Gadhafi’s forces.

For those left behind, witnesses say, the dire situation continues to deteriorate.

“Misrata is still without of water and electricity and telecommunications,” Mohammed said Tuesday. “Shelling has moved out of the industrial areas to the residential areas, and it is still going on.”

A rebel spokesman said the opposition’s Transitional National Council is not opposed to a humanitarian mission on the ground.

“Something needs to be done so we can stop the bloodshed of our people,” Abdulmolah said.

But “we do not want any foreign military presence or any international fighters along with our rebels,” the spokesman said.

The appeal comes as Britain prepares to send a contingent of military officers to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in an advisory role.

The team will work with the opposition on improving military organizational structures, communications and logistics, the British Foreign Office said. It will also assist in the delivery of critically needed aid.

“As the scale of the humanitarian crisis has grown, so has the urgency of increasing our efforts to defend civilians against the attack from Gadhafi forces,” the British Foreign Office said in a statement Tuesday.

NATO is leading an international military operation that includes targeting Gadhafi’s military resources with airstrikes.

The alliance is empowered by a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to protect Libyan civilians.

NATO said the operation has destroyed seven ammunition bunkers in the Tripoli area as well as equipment in several other parts of Libya this week.

On Wednesday, a statement from British military spokesman Maj. Gen. John Lorimer said NATO attacked three regime battle tanks and a vehicle-mounted artillery piece in and around Misrata on Tuesday.

Abdulmolah said NATO strikes may have also prevented more destruction in eastern Libya, particularly near the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

“We received reports that Gadhafi forces were mobilizing their troops and their mobile missiles/rockets systems from Brega towards Ajdabiya to bomb Benghazi. They were stopped by (Tuesday’s) NATO strikes,” he said.

But he said the opposition wants “technical assistance” and weapons “because we are facing a merciless tyrant who wants to slaughter his own people just because they asked for freedom and liberty.” CNN