NATO probing Tripoli claim of civilian deaths
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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.


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

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