Gadhafi Abandons Misrata; Rebels Jubilant

But government forces leave boobytraps as they go
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2011 9:06 AM CDT
Gadhafi Abandons Misrata; Rebels Jubilant
Sen. John McCain surrounded by bodyguards as he arrives to meet Egypt's foreign minister Nabil Al-Araby, at his office in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, April 23, 2011.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Moammar Gadhafi's troops backed away from Misrata today, reports the AP, as jubilant rebels claimed victory after having withstood nearly two months of shelling. "Misrata is free, the rebels have won. Of Gadhafi's forces, some are killed and others are running away," said a rebel. A Gadhafi spokesman said that the fight for Misrata would be left to local tribes, but rebels dismissed his support there as laughable. "This whole move is just to buy time," said the rebel.

"We have been told to withdraw. We were told to withdraw yesterday," one captured soldier tells Reuters. But government loyalists left boobytraps as they fled, and the results were proving deadly as rebels moved to clear the streets: "One man was opening his fridge when he went to his house after the Gadhafi forces left it this morning and it blew up in his face. Bodies the same. When the rebels are trying to lift a body it blows up," said a spokesman. (Read more Libya stories.)

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