July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan rebels in the besieged western city of Misrata say they captured the chief of operations of government forces in the neighboring town of Zlitan, which lies on the route to the capital, Tripoli.
General Abdul Nabih Zayid was seized July 20, the first day of an offensive in Zlitan against troops loyal to Muammar Qaddafi, Mohammed Frefr, chief of the rebels’ prisoner-of-war administration in Misrata, said late yesterday in an interview. A member of the rebel military council in Misrata, Hassan Duwa, said the general was captured at his house as the opposition force advanced on the town.
The rebels yesterday completed the advance on Zlitan and were digging in on the town’s outskirts, Duwa said. Qaddafi still controls the oil-rich North African nation’s capital, Tripoli, which is west of Misrata. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has supported the rebel fighters with an campaign that is in its fifth month. Zayid’s capture represents a boon for the fighters in Misrata as they seek to break the siege of the city, which is within range of Qaddafi’s rockets.
The general was believed to have been the chief of staff in a government operation in March that saw troops and tanks move into Misrata, triggering fierce fighting across the city that left several hundred people dead, said Khalid Alwafi, rebel-held Misrata’s war-crimes investigator and a member of a lawyers’ group that wants to question him.
“We need to interview him,” Alwafi said. “There were many crimes committed in Misrata.” He said the lawyers group, the Misrata Human-Rights Activists Association, is assembling evidence that he hopes will be of use to the International Criminal Court.
--Editors: Heather Langan, Karl Maier
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