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NATO cannot confirm civilian casualties in Libya

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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