Turkish ship rescues wounded Libyans from "hell"
A Turkish ship called the Ankara headed back to Turkey yesterday after rescuing hundreds of wounded Libyans and their families from the besieged city of Misrata and the rebel stronghold Benghazi, but the ship left behind thousands in Misrata pleading to be evacuated, underlining the plight of civilians. "It's a very hard situation. We had to leave early," Ali Akin, head of consular affairs with the Foreign Ministry, said of the Misrata evacuation. He said the ship had to make a hasty departure with the wounded and hundreds of their relatives after a large crowd pressed forward on the dockside hoping for a way out. Wounded refugees said a massacre was taking place there, with one describing the situation as "hell." The hospital committee in Misrata had told Turkish authorities that 120 people needed to leave on the ship but far more were eventually put on board, he said. Turkish Consul in Benghazi Ali Davutoglu said the Ankara had brought 230 passengers from Misrata and was picking up another 100 from Benghazi before sailing to the Turkish port of Cesme, where hospitals were preparing to welcome them. The Turkish government funded the trip, and the Turkish Red Crescent and Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) provided staff and supplies.