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Qaddafi Forces Pound Misurata; Britain Sees Progress Against Regime

A rebel fighter walks beside a captured pro-government forces tank in Tripoli street, Misurata
Muammar Qaddafi's forces have been carrying out sustained rocket and mortar barrages on the Libyan port city of Misurata, as the battle with rebel fighters over Libya's third-largest city continues.

Qaddafi's forces have pulled out of the center of Misurata under pressure from NATO air strikes. But the Libyan ruler's forces continue to encircle the city on land, and on April 26 bombarded Misurata's port area in an apparent attempt to cut off the rebels' connection to supplies arriving by ship.

Misurata is the last major rebel-held city in western Libya.

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said he believes progress has been made against Qaddafi's forces in Misurata, saying it was "clear that the regime is on the back foot."

"We've seen some progress made in Misurata and it's very clear that the regime is on the back foot," Fox said. "The sooner that Colonel Qaddafi recognizes that the game is up, either today or shortly, the better. He is a liability for his people and his country and the sooner he gets this message the better."

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who appeared with his British counterpart at a news conference in Washington, confirmed that NATO is carrying out attacks against the Qaddafi regime's military command-and-control centers, calling these "legitimate" targets. Gates said NATO is not specifically trying to target Qaddafi personally.

compiled from agency reports