NATO probing Tripoli claim of civilian deaths

Last Updated: Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 22:33

Brussels: NATO is investigating Libyan
claims that five civilians, two of them of toddlers, were
killed in an alliance air raid today, a NATO official said to a news agency.

"We`re aware of the claim made by the Libyan regime
and we`re looking into it," the official said.

In Tripoli, government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim accused
the Western alliance of "deliberately targeting civilians,"
insisting there were no military targets anywhere near the
residential neighbourhood of the capital that was hit.

Journalists were taken to the Al-Arada district of
Tripoli before 1:00 am on Saturday to see rescue teams helped
by bystanders desperately searching for survivors among the
wreckage of a two-storey block of flats.

A correspondent saw two bodies pulled from the
rubble.

Journalists were then taken to a Tripoli hospital
where they were shown the bodies of a woman and two toddlers
who officials said were members of the same family and had
died in the raid.

If confirmed, the civilian deaths would be an
embarrassment for the alliance which has been leading the
bombing campaign under a UN mandate to protect civilians.

Ibrahim said he feared the death toll would rise as
the building was home to at least 15 people.

Another NATO source in Brussels confirmed that the
alliance conducted raids over Tripoli in the last 24 hours.

NATO`s latest official operational update on the Libya
campaign said that aircraft hit a surface-to-air missile
storage facility in Tripoli yesterday.

It listed the following hits in the vicinity of
Tripoli -- one command and control facility, two military
vehicle storage facilities, one rocket launcher, four
artillery pieces and two surface-to-air missile launchers.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 22:33
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