"On a baking hot day this week, the people of Libya’s most prosperous city flocked to the beach and splashed in the cooling waters of the Mediterranean. Such happy scenes were unthinkable in Misrata a year ago, when the world watched in horror as Muammar Gaddafi’s forces encircled and besieged this port city, unleashing what he called the ‘forces of Hell’.
Firing thousands of tank shells, mortars and missiles into residential areas, the Libyan dictator was determined to smash the uprising in Misrata, only three hours from his underground stronghold in Tripoli, the capital.
To add to the terror, he sent thousands of troops into battle, many of them African mercenaries who had been allowed into Libya in return for their undying loyalty to the despot. Gaddafi told them: ‘Misrata is yours.’ There was carnage. While local men were fighting back against Gaddafi’s troops, their homes were looted and their wives and children kidnapped. Rape was widespread, death everywhere. ..."