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The War for Libya’s West Coast

9:35 AM, Sep 2, 2011 • By ANN MARLOWE
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Closer to Sabratha, Rowad pulls into a group of middle class houses. It seems that no one is around, and then we spot a man sitting on the floor. Rowad stacks a few days’ worth of food and water in front of him. His name is Mohamed al-Jar. He says his two sons were impressed into the Libyan army. He is 76 and alone and hasn’t been out in eight or nine days.

As we drive back to the center of Sabratha, Rowad pulls in behind a speeding black SUV. It’s headed for the Sabratha hospital. The Qaddafi regime began construction on a giant new hospital twenty years ago and it still stands incomplete. What passes for  a hospital here is a makeshift affair. By the time we enter the ER the wounded fighter is already on a hospital bed and hooked up to an IV.

He is much older than most of the fighters, maybe in his mid-fifties. Unlike the young men, who wear the baggy fatigues with lanky grace, the middle-aged look imprisoned by them. His thick grey beard makes it difficult to see the wounds to his carotid artery and larynx. Dr. Ibrahim Ali, a Sabratha native returned from his home in the UK to treat the war wounded, says his wounds were very serious. “We will do what we can for him,” says Ali.

Still, the man died a few days later.

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