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Egyptian refugee Jamal Anas, 38 who was separated from his children during evacuation, is comforted by an aid worker as he reacts on board a boat that evacuated foreign refugees and injured residents in Misrata. Nasser Nasser/AP/Press Association Images

Fears for thousands of civilians trapped in besieged Libyan city

An aid ship sent to rescue desperate civilians from the conflict-torn city of Misrata was forced to leave thousands of injured women and children behind yesterday – amongst heavy bombardment and sniper fire.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE are still waiting for help in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata, after an aid ship transferring wounded civilians to safety was forced to leave scores of injured behind yesterday.

Fears are growing for those who are still trapped in the city, with reports of relentless bombardment and heavy sniper fire battering Misrata. Electricity and water supplies have been cut, and those remaining are facing an increasingly desperate situation as food supplies dwindle after weeks of bloody conflict.

At least 267 people have been killed in Misrata, Libya’s third-largest city, during more than seven weeks of siege, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Monday – however, it added the final toll is likely to be higher. After inspecting impact sites and talking to witnesses, the group accused Libyan government forces of launching indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on residential neighborhoods.

Rebels and civilians evacuated from Misrata by boat as part of an international rescue mission on Monday were taken off on gurneys or in wheelchairs – the ship had a heavy machine gun mounted to its front. One had a severely damaged leg with braces and bandages and some women carried babies, the Associated Press reports. One of the rebels carried fragments of rockets as he disembarked in the rebels’ de facto capital Benghazi late Monday.

Seventy-six year-old Omar Abdurahman Gseibat hugged his son and his granson as he told the Guardian: “You cannot imagine the situation there – the rockets were so heavy.

The British government has vowed today to fund the evacuation of refugees, after International Organisation of Migration estimated that a further 5,000 civilians – many of whom are women and children – remained in trapped in the war zone today, the London Independent reports.

Additional reporting by AP

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