"A city under siege, a rising death toll and hospitals filling with men wounded by gunfire were unmistakable signs Sunday that war has returned to the Libyan town of Bani Walid, imperiling the country’s fragile political transition.
At least 22 people have been killed in the last week and hundreds more injured in fighting around the city, a one-time bastion of support for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi that has shrugged off the new government’s authority.
The violence, rooted in old enmities and nudged by fresh outrages, has pitted militias from a rival town against fighters in Bani Walid, a hilltop city in western Libya where, according to government officials, wanted men have fled.
Residents of the city say that the electric and gas supplies have been cut off and that the militias encircling the town, including many from the coastal city of Misurata, are shelling it indiscriminately. On Saturday, the United Nations representative for Libya warned all sides “to abide by humanitarian principles” and expressed concern at reports of growing civilian casualties resulting from the shelling."