Gaddafi's forces make rape threats: Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday surrounded Zlitan, one of only three towns separating the rebel-held city of Misrata from the capital Tripoli, a rebel military spokesman said.
"Large numbers of troops are surrounding Zlitan from all directions and are threatening its residents with having their women raped by mercenaries if they do not surrender," Ahmed Bani, military spokesman, told Reuters by phone from Benghazi.
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Zlitan could act as a stepping stone to allow the anti-Gaddafi uprising to spread from Misrata, the biggest rebel outpost in western Libya, to Gaddafi's stronghold in Tripoli.
Bani said the troops around Zlitan were equipped with artillery and Grad rockets.
Earlier Friday, Libyan government forces pounded the outskirts of the rebel-held city of Misrata, killing at least 22 people, a hospital physician said.
The doctor at Hikma Hospital, who would only give his first name, Ayman, said Gaddafi's forces used tanks, artillery and incendiary rockets in the bombardment of Dafniya, about 18 miles (30 kilometers) west of Misrata. He said at least 61 people were wounded in the attacks which began about 10 am local time.
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