NATO cannot confirm civilian casualties in Libya
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Last Updated: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 23:40
Tripoli: NATO said on Saturday it cannot confirm a Libyan government claim that 11 Muslim clerics were killed in an airstrike in eastern Libya but regrets "any loss of life by innocent civilians" whenever it occurs.

NATO has been intensifying airstrikes against Gaddafi's troops in several areas of Libya in a bid to weaken his brutal crackdown against a rebel uprising. Four explosions, most likely from NATO strikes, were heard in Tripoli early today.

Yesterday, the government accused the alliance of killing the 11 clerics as they were sleeping in a guesthouse.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said those killed were part of a group that had gathered to pray for peace in the oil town of Brega. He said 50 people also were wounded, including five in critical condition.

In a statement today, NATO said the building struck had been "clearly identified as a command and control center." It said it could not confirm civilian deaths but did not deny them either.

The Brussels-based alliance took over command of the air campaign on March 31 with a mandate to protect civilians from government attacks. It repeatedly has said all its targets in Libya are military and that it is not targeting Gaddafi or other individuals.


First Published: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 23:40

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