Tripoli: NATO accused Libyan leader
Moammar Gaddafi on Saturday of using mosques and children`s
parks as shields for his military operations, saying the
longtime ruler who lashed out against alliance airstrikes is
the one "brutally attacking the Libyan people."
Hours later, at least two explosions shook Tripoli as
NATO jets soared above the capital. It was not immediately
clear what had been hit or if there were casualties in the
late afternoon raid.
In a telephone call piped through loudspeakers to a
few thousand people demonstrating in Tripoli`s Green Square on
Friday, Gaddafi railed against NATO following a day of
intensified bombing runs in the capital. NATO`s mandate is to
protect civilians amid a four-month uprising that has devolved
into a civil war.
"NATO will be defeated," Gaddafi yelled in a hoarse,
agitated voice to the crowd. "They will pull out in defeat."
In Brussels on Saturday, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu
dismissed Gaddafi`s speech as "outrageous."
"We are saving countless lives every day across the
country," she said. "We are conducting operations with utmost
care and precision to avoid civilian casualties. Civilian
casualties figures mentioned by the Libyan regime are pure
She also accused Gaddafi and his regime of
"systematically and brutally attacking the Libyan people,"
saying government forces "have been shelling cities, mining
ports and using mosques and children`s parks as shields."
NATO has been ramping up the pressure on Gaddafi`s more than
four-decade-old regime. Though most airstrikes happen under
cover of darkness, daytime raids have grown more frequent.