WRAPUP 8-Libya wounded describe siege hell,Turkey seeks peace

* Misrata wounded talk of massacre, despite army denial

* Libyan envoy in Greece & Turkey with message from Gaddafi

* Fighting bogged down in oil town of Brega

* Al Qaeda acquiring weapons in Libya -Algerian official

* U.S. raises Al Qaeda concerns with rebels

(Adds State Department, Hague comments, Misrata doctor)

By Tarek Amara and Alexander Dziadosz

SFAX, Tunisia/BREGA, Libya, April 4 (Reuters) – Forces loyal
to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are staging a “massacre” in the
besieged city of Misrata, evacuees said on Monday, as Turkey
said it was trying to broker a ceasefire to halt the bloodshed.

With Libya in chaos, an official in neighbouring Algeria
told Reuters that al Qaeda was exploiting the conflict to
acquire weapons, including surface-to-air missiles.

The U.S. State Department said it had raised concerns with
the Libyan rebels about the Islamist group obtaining arms in the
east of the country, where they are battling Gaddafi’s forces.

Evacuees from Misrata, the rebels’ last major stronghold in
western Libya, described the city as “hell”. They said Gaddafi’s
troops were using tanks and snipers against residents, littering
the streets with corpses and filling hospitals with the wounded.

“You have to visit Misrata to see the massacre by Gaddafi,”
said Omar Boubaker, a 40-year-old engineer with a bullet wound
to the leg, brought to the Tunisian port of Sfax by a French aid
group. “Corpses are in the street. Hospitals are overflowing.”

Misrata rose up with other towns against Gaddafi last month
but is the only major one in western Libyan left in rebel hands.

“I could live or die, but I am thinking of my family and
friends who are stranded in the hell of Misrata,” said tearful
evacuee Abdullah Lacheeb, who had serious injuries to his pelvis
and stomach and a bullet wound in his leg.

“Imagine, they use tanks against civilians. He (Gaddafi) is
prepared to kill everyone there … I am thinking of my family.”


More on Middle East unrest: [nTOPMEAST] [nLDE71O2CH]

Libya Graphics http://link.reuters.com/neg68r

Interactive graphic http://link.reuters.com/puk87r


Stalemate on the frontline of fighting in eastern Libya,
defections from Gaddafi’s circle and the plight of civilians
caught in fighting, or facing food and fuel shortages, have
prompted a flurry of diplomacy to try to end the civil war.

Turkey said it was seeking to broker a ceasefire as an envoy
from Gaddafi’s government arrived in Ankara from Athens.

“Turkey will continue to do its best to end the sufferings
and to contribute to the process of making a road map that
includes the political demands of Libyan people,” Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after the arrival of Libyan Deputy
Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi from earlier talks in Greece.

Turkey also expected officials of the rebel National Council
to visit Ankara soon, Davutoglu told a news conference. A
Turkish Foreign Ministry official said both sides had “conveyed
that they have some opinions about a possible ceasefire”.


Beyond a willingness to talk, there was no sign of what
Libya might offer to end the war, which is bogged down on a
frontline around the eastern oil town of Brega.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who had spoken to
Greek officials after Obeidi’s talks in Athens, dismissed the
Libyan envoy’s message.

“A solution for the future of Libya has a pre-condition:
that Gaddafi’s regime leaves and is out and that Gaddafi himself
and his family leave the country,” Frattini said, adding that an
interim government under one of Gaddafi’s sons was not an

U.N.-mandated air strikes to protect civilians have so far
failed to halt attacks in Misrata by the Libyan army.

At least five people died when Gaddafi forces shelled a
residential area of Misrata late on Monday, a doctor said,
warning the death toll was likely to keep rising.

“The reception in the hospital is full. Five people were
confirmed killed in the last two hours and five more are in
critical condition,” the doctor, who gave his name as Ramadan,
told Reuters by phone from the city.

Libyan officials deny attacking civilians in Misrata, saying
they are fighting armed gangs linked to al Qaeda. Accounts from
Misrata cannot be independently verified as Libyan authorities
are not allowing journalists to report freely from there.

A Turkish ship that sailed into Misrata to rescue 250
wounded was protected by Turkish warplanes and warships and had
to leave in a hurry after thousands pressed forward on the dock,
pleading to be evacuated. Another ship operated by Medecins Sans
Frontieres docked in Sfax with 71 wounded from Misrata.


In Algiers, a senior security official said that Al Qaeda in
the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Islamist group’s regional wing,
was getting hold of weapons in Libya. [ID:nLDE7331B9]

The Algerian official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said a convoy of eight Toyota pick-up trucks had left eastern
Libya and headed via Chad and Niger to northern Mali, where in
the past few days it had delivered a cargo of weapons.

“We know that this is not the first convoy and that it is
still ongoing,” the official said. “Several military barracks
have been pillaged in this region (eastern Libya) with their
arsenals and weapons stores, and the elements of AQIM who were
present could not have failed to profit from this opportunity.”

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said
the United States had raised concerns with the Libyan rebels.

“We are aware of these reports too and it has been one of
the topics of our conversation with … the opposition forces,”
Toner told reporters. “We have made very clear our concerns and
they have … pledged that they will look into it.”

Gaddafi says the uprising is fuelled by Islamist radicals
and Western nations who want to control Libya’s oil. The rebels,
whose stronghold is in the eastern city of Benghazi, want
nothing less than the removal of Gaddafi and his circle.

In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament
that Britain would supply telecoms equipment to the rebels but
not arm them. He also said an international contact group set up
to coordinate the political response to the Libyan crisis would
meet in Qatar next week. [nLDE7331UU]

The U.N.-mandated military intervention, in which warplanes
have attacked Gaddafi’s armour, radar and air defences, began on
March 19 and was intended to protect civilians caught up in
fighting between pro-Gaddafi forces and the rebels.

After chasing each other up and down the coast road linking
the oil ports of eastern Libya with Gaddafi’s tribal heartland
further west, the two sides are stuck around Brega, a sparsely
populated settlement spread over more than 25 km (15 miles).

Rebels pushed the army out of much of Brega and towards the
outskirts of the sprawling oil town on Monday in a slow advance
west, but were still facing bombardment with each step.

Showing signs of greater organisation than in past weeks, the
rebels moved more cautiously and held ground more stubbornly
than before, despite facing better-equipped forces.

“Gaddafi’s forces are waiting at the western gate exactly.
Any advance by the rebels, they fire at them with mortars,” said
rebel fighter Youssef Shawadi, a few kilometres from the gate.
(Additional reporting by Angus MacSwan in Benghazi, Tulay
Karadeniz and Simon Cameron-Moore in Ankara, Lamine Chikhi and
Christian Lowe in Algiers, Ibon Villelabeitia and Tom Pfeiffer
in Cairo, Joseph Nasr in Berlin, Justyna Pawlak in Brussels,
Tarek Amara, Karolina Tagaris in London; Writing by Peter
Millership/David Stamp; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

WRAPUP 8-Libya wounded describe siege hell,Turkey seeks peace