April 21, 2011 / 7:26 AM / 8 years ago

Mortars kill three rebels in Misrata, rebels say

* Mortar fire kills three in Misrata

* Rebels weep for dead comrades

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By Michael Georgy

MISRATA, Libya, April 21 (Reuters) - Mortar fire killed three rebel fighters and wounded 17 in the besieged Libyan town of Misrata on Thursday, rebel spokesmen said.

Heavy mortar fire hit the western Libyan town overnight.

Weeping rebels stood over the bodies of their dead comrades in the town hospital.

Misrata, Libya’s third largest city and the only rebel stronghold in the west of the country, has been under siege by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for seven weeks. Hundreds of people are reported to have died.

The latest attack early on Thursday morning took place on Tripoli Street, a major thoroughfare in the town that has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent days.

“Some of us were standing outside in the street and some in buildings when the mortars landed,” said rebel spokesman Marwan al-Bira, who arrived at the hospital holding part of a 120mm mortar bomb.

Fighting in Misrata killed at least 10 civilians on Wednesday.

Among the dead were British photojournalist Tim Hetherington, co-director of Oscar-nominated war documentary “Restrepo”, and American photographer Chris Hondros, killed when a group they were in came under mortar fire.

Seven Libyan civilians and a Ukrainian doctor were also killed during fierce fighting in the town, medics said.

(Writing by Giles Elgood)

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