Snipers strike fear into civilians in Libya's Misrata

Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:54pm GMT

By Michael Georgy

MISRATA, Libya, April 20 (Reuters) - Ten-year-old Mohammad Hassan lies in a hospital bed with a bullet wound to the head in the besieged city of Misrata, hallucinating one minute and calling out for his father the next.

He is a victim of what doctors say must have been a sniper loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

"My head, my head," cries the boy, tossing and turning as his mother paces the room.

Verses from the Koran play on a cellphone, about the only form of comfort available to a family which like others are scared government forces will recapture Misrata.

Snipers have become among the most feared combatants in the battle for Misrata, the only major rebel-held town in western Libya and under siege for more than seven weeks.

There was no way of verifying whether Hassan was shot by a government sniper.

It was just assumed by doctors and the boy's mother -- and that is something that would probably please government forces who hope fear will help them regain control.

"Mohammed and his friends were in our garage. They had gone outside to play when he had to pause to put his shoe on. In that instant the bullet hit his head," said his mother Zeinab.   Continued...

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