Image: Libyan protesters and relatives carry the coffin with the corpse of protester Esam Bishir Abdo Allah
Khaled Elfiqi  /  EPA
Libyan protesters and relatives of Esam Bishir Abdo Allah carry his coffin to a burial site in Benghazi, Libya on Monday. The protesters said Allah was killed by supporters of Moammar Gadhafi in a violent crackdown on protests against his rule.
Image: Miranda Leitsinger
By Reporter

These are tough days for two doctors in Misrata, Libya's third largest city.

Farij, an anesthesiologist, and Abubaker, an ophthalmologist, have been working tirelessly to treat people injured in clashes between Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's security forces and opposition protesters.

Since last week, some 300 injured have sought medical care and another 27 were killed in the fighting, according to the doctors. All told, at least 32 people have died in the clashes in the city, which is on the Mediterranean coast about 125 miles east of Tripoli.

"They are shooting by anti-aircraft," Abubaker said in a video call with (Neither he nor Farij wanted their last names used out of fear for their safety). "We found someone without a brain. ... We received two people that are completely burned. We don't know if and how to recognize them."

The areas to the east and west of Misrata are controlled by Gadhafi loyalists, though protesters are in charge in the city — except for a part of an air base, where some of the heaviest fighting has been reported, Abubaker said. The attack at the airport began when protesters went to the area and asked the security forces to join them, he said.

Photos from airport attack

Among the casualties Abubaker said he had treated were two girls, ages 6 and 8, who were injured when their home was hit during the fighting. Their father was killed, he said.

Abubaker — who owns a clinic but is volunteering at a local hospital — said the medical situation was critical.

"We have a very big shortage ... of medications," including antibiotics and anesthetic drugs, as well as antiseptic solutions, syringes, gloves and gowns, he said. "We have maybe one week or even less to cover our injured people."

They are seeking help from international health organizations, but for the moment, "there is no way to get any support."

"I feel so sorry. The people here, they are not angry. They are looking for only freedom ... real democracy," Abubaker said. "It's a high price we have to pay for freedom."

Farij said there were only four ventilators in the intensive care unit, forcing the staff to take people off of the machines as soon as possible to free up the equipment. The city's main hospital has been under renovation for three years, leaving just one other hospital and three clinics available to treat patients.

American in Libya: 'Our city is free'

In Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the opposition stronghold in the country's east, doctors have reported 256 people dead and about 2,000 wounded in the violence, said Hicham Hassan, a spokesman for an International Committee of the Red Cross team there.

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Local doctors told the ICRC that the situation has stabilized in Benghazi's hospitals, "in the sense that they stopped receiving more casualties and they treated a big part of the casualties that they had," Hassan said.

But the doctors said there was a shortage of nurses, since many of them were foreigners who had been evacuated. They also were in need of medicines to treat chronic illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, he said.

In Paris, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Monday that planes were heading to the Benghazi with medical staff and supplies. "It will be the beginning of a massive operation of humanitarian support for the populations of liberated territories," he told RTL radio.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has put the death toll in Libya at nearly 300, according to a partial count from last week. But Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini described estimates of some 1,000 people killed as "credible."

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Video: On the brink of civil war in Libya

  1. Closed captioning of: On the brink of civil war in Libya

    >>> on the ground in libya tonight there is new pressure on gadhafi as well. those who want him out, as we said, are moving closer to the capital. and there's high sangite about what may happen next. jim maceda is in tripoli tonight. good evening.

    >> reporter: gadhafi may have told foreign journalists today that his people love him but anti- gadhafi forces have never been closer to the capital. despite a ring of soldiers and heavy armor around the city, inside libyans were daring to protest. this funeral for a man shot in the head by a sniper turned into an anti- gadhafi demonstration. but just as quickly ended after someone fired a round. and as people here heard report of opposition forces moving closer to the capital, there were signs of growing anxiety. many are standing hours outside banks to collect a $400 handout from the regime in a desperate attempt to buy support before the chaos strikes. everyone here seems to expect civil war , and the government stokes the fear.

    >> hundreds of thousands, and i repeat, hundreds of thousands of libyans will be killed and destruction everywhere for possibly year to come.

    >> reporter: throughout libya battlelines are being drawn. this amateur video apparently shows a gun battle raging between pro and anti- gadhafi forces in misrata, site of an air business about 100 miles east of tripoli with both sides fighting to a standstill. further east in benghazi, under opposition control, volunteers signed up to join in the battle and a transitional government is taking shape to run day-to-day affairs. but back in tripoli , gadhafi 's regime remains in charge. this weekend, gadhafi 's son saef visited supporters brandishing an assault rifle and promising more weapons. everything is fine, he said. we're going to be victorious.

    >> you can see the smoke.

    >> reporter: but the government has had to bomb its own weapons deep oes deep inside rebel controlled territory to keep the other size from using them. the opposition is now on tripoli 's doorstep, barely 30 miles away in zawiya. these scenes captured sunday by international news cameras show what was once gadhafi 's heartland have become a den of protests. thousands called on their lead are to step down protected by soldiers with tanks and machine guns. there's a real sense of foreboding here, brian. many libyans believe gadhafi when he says he will turn this country red with fire rather than be defeated.

    >> jim maceda in tripoli for

Photos: Moammar Gadhafi

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  1. Col. Moammar Gadhafi is seen in Tripoli on Sept. 27, 1969, after leading a military coup that toppled King Idris. Gadhafi has maintained his rule over Libya for more than four decades since the coup. Gadhafi was killed in Sirte on Oct. 20 as revolutionary forces took the last bastion of his supporters. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Gadhafi, left, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, right, arrive in Rabat, Morocco, in December 1969 for the Arab Summit Conference. (Benghabit / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Col. Gadhafi, left, jokes with a group of British hippies in Tripoli in July 1973. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Gadhafi was purportedly a major financier of the Black September movement, a band of Palestinian militants. Its members perpetrated the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. One of the Black September guerrillas who broke into the Olympic Village is seen in this picture. (Keystone via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Gadhafi during the summit of the Organization of African Unity on Aug. 4, 1975, in Kampala, Uganda. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Flowers are laid at the memorial to Yvonne Fletcher, a British police constable who was shot dead by terrorists in April 1984 while on duty during a protest outside the Libyan embassy in London. Fletcher's death led to an 11-day police siege of the embassy and a breakdown of diplomatic relations between Libya and the United Kingdom. (Fox Photos via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Gadhafi and his second wife Safiya wave to the crowd upon their arrival in Dakar, Senegal, for a three-day official visit on Dec. 3, 1985. Gadhafi has eight biological children, six by Safiya. (Joel Robine / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. U.S. Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, fourth from left, and West Berlin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen, fifth from left, inspect the damage following an April 5, 1986, bombing at a Berlin discotheque frequented by American serveicemen. Libya was blamed for the blast, which killed three and injured more than 200. Then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan retaliated by ordering airstrikes against the Libyan capital of Tripoli and city of Benghazi. (Wolfgang Mrotzkowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. French policemen and army soldiers unload crates of arms and ammunition seized aboard the Panamian merchant ship Eksund on Nov. 3, 1987 at Brest military port in France. A huge supply of arms and explosives purportedly supplied by Libya and destined for the Irish Republican Army was found aboard the vessel. (Andre Durand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. This Dec. 22, 1988, photo shows the wreckage of the Pan Am airliner that exploded and crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people - most of them Americans. Gadhafi has accepted Libya's responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families. Libya's ex-justice minister was recently quoted as telling a Swedish newspaper that Gadhafi personally ordered the bombing. (Letkey / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, right, welcomes Gadhafi upon his arrival at Tunis airport on Jan. 10, 1990. (Frederic Neema / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is escorted by security officers in Tripoli on Feb. 18, 1992. Al-Megrahi was granted a compassionate release from a Scottish prison in August 2009 on the grounds that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon. (Manoocher Deghati / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, left, accompanies Gadhafi on a tour at the pyramids of Giza on Jan. 19, 1993. (Aladin Abdel Naby / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An Egyptian border policeman counts passports belonging to Palestinians waiting at the post in Salloum for transit to the Gaza Strip on Sept. 12, 1995. Families were stranded at the border with Libya after Gadhafi decided to expel 30.000 Palestinians, reportedly in order to call attention to the political situation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. (Amr Nabil / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Libyan women bodyguards provide security for VIPs during a military parade in Green Square on Sept. 1, 2003, to mark the 34th anniversary of Gadhafi's acension to power. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Family members of people killed in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, read documents on Sept. 12, 2003, as the U.N. Security Council votes to lift sanctions against Libya for the 1988 bombing. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, flew to Libya in 2004 to hold talks with Gadhafi inside a Bedouin tent. Here, Blair and and Gadhafi stroll to a separate tent in Tripoli for lunch during a break in their talks. Blair's role was particularly vital in Gadhafi's international rehabilitation. He praised the leader for ending Libya's nuclear and chemical weapons program and stressed the need for new security alliances in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (Stefan Rousseau / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. U.S. President George W. Bush looks at material and equipment surrendered by Libya, during a tour of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee on July 12, 2004. Bush officially lifted the U.S. trade embargo against Libya on Sept. 20, 2004. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. View of the remains of Gadhafi's bombed-out headquarters, now turned into a living memento, inside his compound in Tripoli on Oct. 15, 2004. The sculpture in the center represents a golden fist grabbing a U.S. jet fighter. U.S. jets bombed Tripoli, killing Gadhafi's adopted 4-year-old daughter, in April 1986 in retaliation for the Berlin discotheque bombing. (John Macdougall / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is welcomed by Gadhafi in Tripoli on July 25, 2007. Sarkozy arrived for a meeting with the Libyan leader a day after the release of six foreign medics from a Libyan prison. (Patrick Kovarik / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Gadhafi's son Saif, center, attends a ceremony in the southern Libyan city of Ghiryan on Aug. 18, 2007, to mark the arrival of water from the Great Manmade River, a project to pipe water from desert wells to coastal communities. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Gadhafi looks at a Russian-language edition of his book "The Green Book" during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 17, 2008, in Tripoli. Putin was in Libya for a two-day visit to rebuild Russian-Libyan relations. (Artyom Korotayev / Epsilon via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Gadhafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pose for a picture after signing an agreement in the eastern city of Benghazi on Libya's Mediterranean coast on Aug. 30, 2008. Berlusconi apologized to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signed a $5 billion investment deal by way of compensation. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Gadhafi poses with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prior to a meeting in Tripoli on Sept. 5, 2008. Rice arrived in Libya on the first such visit in more than half a century, marking a new chapter in Washington's reconciliation with the former enemy state. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Gadhafi attends the closing session of the Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar, on March 30, 2009. (Marwan Naamani / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Gadhafi waves after delivering a speech during a meeting with 700 women from the business, political and cultural spheres on June 12, 2009, in Rome. The Libyan strongman drew cheers and jeers when he criticized Islam's treatment of women but then suggested it should be up to male relatives to decide if a woman can drive. (Christophe Simon / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. U.S .President Barack Obama shakes hands with Gadhafi during the G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, on July 9, 2009. (Michael Gottschalk / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, top left, is accompanied by Seif al-Islam el-Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader, upon his arrival at the airport in Tripoli on Aug. 20, 2009. Scotland freed the terminally ill Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds, allowing him to die at home in Libya despite American protests that he should be shown no mercy. (Amr Nabil / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. The president of the U.N. General Assembly, Ali Abdussalam Treki, top center, listens in apparent misery as Gadhafi speaks on Sept. 23, 2009, at U.N. headquarters in New York. It was Gadhafi's first appearance before the U.N., and he emptied out much of the chamber with an exhaustive 95-minute speech in which he criticized the decision-making structure of the world body and called for investigations of all the wars and assassinations that have taken place since the U.N.'s founding. (Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Gadhafi greets Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the plenary session at the Africa-South America Summit on Margarita Island on Sept. 27, 2009. Chavez and Gadhafi urged African and South American leaders to strive for a new world order countering Western economic dominance. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during a group picture of Arab and African leaders ahead of the opening of the second Arab-African summit in the coastal town of Sirte, Libya, on Oct. 10, 2010. Ben Ali and Mubarak were driven out of power by popular revolts in 2011. (Sabri Elmehedwi / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Gadhafi is followed by members of the press in Tripoli before making a speech hoping to defuse tensions on March 2. Gadhafi blamed al-Qaida for creating turmoil and told applauding supporters there was a conspiracy to control Libya and its oil. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Libyan rebels step on a picture of Gadhafi at a checkpoint in Tripoli's Qarqarsh district on Aug. 22. Libyan government tanks and snipers put up a scattered, last-ditch effort in Tripoli on Monday after rebels swept into the heart of the capital, cheered on by crowds hailing the end of Gadhafi's 42 years in power. (Bob Strong / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. A man in Tripoli holds a photo said to be of Moammar Gadhafi after the announcement of the former leader's death, Oct. 20, 2011. Gadhafi was killed when revolutionary forces overwhelmed his hometown, Sirte, the last major bastion of resistance two months after the regime fell. (Abdel Magid Al-fergany / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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Timeline: Recent Middle East unrest


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