Raids in western Libya intensified: NATO

NATO has stepped up raids across western Libya, destroying 50 military targets to counter the build-up of Gaddafi forces near key cities.

Last Updated: Jul 02, 2011, 21:40 PM IST

Brussels: NATO has stepped up raids across
western Libya in recent days, destroying 50 military targets
to counter the build-up of Gaddafi forces near key
cities, the alliance said on Saturday.

Round-the-clock operations have focused since Monday
on a region that stretches from the Nafusa mountains near the
Tunisian border to the western city of Misrata.

"We are engaging all military assets that are being
used to indiscriminately target the civilian population
throughout Libya," said Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard,
commander of NATO operations in Libya.

"NATO continues to increase the pressure on the
Gaddafi regime and to protect civilians, wherever they are
under threat of attack," he said.

The strikes have been carried out "in response to
pro-Gaddafi forces massing in key urban areas and on major
lines of communication" an alliance statement said.

"This build up poses a real threat to more than 1.8
million civilians living in the cities of Nalut, Tripoli,
Gharyan, Al-Khums and Misrata," it said.

In the past four days in Gharyan, 80 kilometres (50
miles) south of Tripoli, NATO aircraft struck eight targets
including a military complex used to resupply Gaddafi troops,
tanks and other military vehicles, the alliance said.

Another air raid struck an underground network of
tunnels used to hide military equipment in mountainous terrain
near Wadi Turghut, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of
the capital.

PTI