At Least 20 Dead as Government Forces Pound Libyan Town

Posted June 10th, 2011 at 5:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Medics and rebels say at least 20 people have been killed in Libya's rebel-held town of Misrata, where forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi have been pounding targets.

They say at least 60 people were wounded in the shelling on Friday.

Also Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government has offered Mr. Gadhafi “guarantees” if he were to leave the country.

He did not specify the nature of the guarantees. But he said Turkey would help Mr. Gadhafi get to where he “would like.” Mr. Erdogan said he was still awaiting a reply from Tripoli.

Meanwhile, a new round of suspected NATO airstrikes shook the Libyan capital as Norway announced it will end its air support commitment to the NATO mission.

The Norwegian defense ministry said Friday that it will withdraw all six of its fighter jets from the NATO-led operation by August 1.

Officials with the NATO mission denied on Friday a Libyan government report that pro-Gadhafi forces had shot down a NATO helicopter in the western town of Zlitan.

On Thursday, allied and Arab nations pledged more than $1.1 billion to help Libya's opposition council and civilians affected by the country's conflict.

The 22-member Libya Contact Group announced the series of financial measures as it met in the United Arab Emirates to plan for a Libya without Mr. Gadhafi.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said talks were underway with people close to Mr. Gadhafi that have raised the “potential” for a transition of power. Russian special envoy Mikhail Margelov said he had recently met with rebel leaders in Benghazi and was planning to meet with members of Mr. Gadhafi's government to explore ways to end the unrest.