Skip to main content

Misrata wounded speak of fighting, resolve

From Reza Sayah, CNN
Click to play
Wounded treated on hospital ship
  • A Turkish hospital ship has picked up some 360 Libyan patients
  • "By God, I would go back to Misrata the first chance I get"
  • The ship will take them to Turkey for treatment

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) -- Hundreds of people hurt in the fighting in the Libyan city of Misrata were picked up by a Turkish hospital ship Sunday and spoke of the violence they left behind.

Despite the fierce fighting that left many of them severely wounded or mourning family members, those aboard said they would return to the besieged city in a heartbeat.

"By God, I would go back to Misrata the first chance I get," said Muhammad el Suker, 28. A salesman-turned-rebel fighter, el Suker was hit in the stomach by shrapnel, forcing him to leave behind his father, mother, seven brothers and three sisters.

He said he is worried about his family and painted a disturbing picture of a war-torn city.

"There are so many killed," he said. "They're killing, violating our honor, robbing our homes. Anything that is wrong, they are doing. You can't imagine what's going on there."

The battle for medical aid in Libya
Zakaria debriefs former Libyan jihadi
Brzezinski on Libya
  • Libya
  • Turkey
  • Moammar Gadhafi

The ship, named the Ankara, is actually a cruise ship that went to Libya to pick up patients. It took on more than 300 people in Misrata, then went to the naval port in Benghazi on Sunday to pick up medical supplies and about 60 more patients.

The Ankara is expected to leave for the Turkish port of Cesme, where the patients will receive medical attention, opposition officials said.

"We need a lot of help in Misrata. There's so much death there," said Mustafa Abdul Hamali, a 46-year-old taxi driver who lost half of a leg.

"I was driving in my car with my wife, and my car just blew up. I don't know what happened," he said. His wife suffered burns, he said, but he hasn't seen her in weeks because he sent her away to stay with family.

Khalid Moteridi, a 32-year-old businessman, said he was shot twice in the legs by a sniper. Three of his brothers are missing, he said.

"We were fighting with light weapons, but they had so much more," he said of the pro-government forces. "Artillery, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank rockets. That's how they were fighting back."

Moteridi said there is no electricity, food or water back home.

"We're trapped from all sides by the Gadhafi forces," he said. "I don't like the feeling of leaving my family and people behind, (but) I'll go back to Misrata when I get better, God willing, and ... Gadhafi and his gangs will be defeated."

Fierce fighting between the opposition and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has raged for weeks in Misrata, the country's third-largest city, which lies on the coast in the western part of the country.

Pro-government forces in Misrata shelled a medical clinic Sunday, killing one person and wounding 15 others, according to a doctor who was not identified for security reasons.

The clinic had evacuated patients because of recent attacks, said another doctor at a Misrata hospital that received the patients. The victims were opposition "fighters and young people" who were guarding the clinic, the doctor said.

One Misrata resident said Sunday he heard the sound of heavy shelling coming from the port area. Misrata's port is under rebel control and is considered the main site of aid for people in the embattled city.

Troops supporting Gadhafi surrounded the city, with snipers perched on rooftops of buildings, he said.

"When you look at the patients, you get sad," said Jami Sokuci, a Turkish doctor on board the ship. "You know, a lot of older patients. Child patients ... when you see them, you get sad."

Twenty-year-old student Ibrahim el Sheikh said he was shot by a sniper. In his hospital bed, he held a stone he took from Misrata, his way of staying close to home while he's away.

Mohamad Hamdi Sheikh, 64, sat by his semiconscious 12-year-old son Muhammad, who broke his right leg, lost an eye and suffered cuts to his face and arms when an explosive device hit their house.

"I feel complete pride and true honor for what happened, because what happened to my kids is for the sake of the country," he said.

Part of complete coverage on
'Sons of Mubarak' in plea for respect
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Timeline of the conflict in Libya
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
Who are these rebels?
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Why NATO's Libya mission has shifted
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Interactive map: Arab unrest
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Send your videos, stories
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Libya through Gadhafi's keyhole
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
How Arab youth found its voice
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.