April 1, 2011
The US-led military alliance admits that its forces have killed dozens of civilians and wounded several others in the ongoing aerial attacks on key Libyan cities.
NATO said it will investigate reports that up to 40 civilians were killed in a Western bombing strike near the capital, Tripoli, a Press TV correspondent reported.
“I am aware of this news report and this is initial reporting. But NATO took over command of Operation Unified Protector at 06.00 this morning, we’re investigating and we will report the details once the investigation is complete,” Charles Bouchard, Commander of NATO operations in Libya said.
Moreover, medical sources said at least seven civilians were slain in Wednesday’s raid on the village of Zawia el Argobe, 15 km (9 miles) from Brega.
The airstrike also wounded more than 25 civilians and destroyed several nearby homes.
A top Vatican official has said NATO airstrikes on Libya have killed dozens of civilians.
Iovanni Martinelli says there are several witness accounts that least 40 civilians have been killed in Western bomb attack in Tripoli alone.
American military chiefs say Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s armed forces are not close to breaking point, despite hundreds of airstrikes by NATO forces.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has told a US Congressional committee that Gaddafi’s forces still have 10 times the firepower of the revolutionaries.
Mullen said bad weather has stopped Western forces from identifying targets over the past few days.
Germany and China have also reacted to NATO’s airstrikes on Libya. The foreign ministers of both countries have called for a ceasefire and the start of a diplomatic process to end the crisis in Libya.
On the ground in Libya, revolutionary forces have been fighting Gaddafi troops for control of the oil-rich town of Brega. They earlier lost the eastern port of Ras Lanuf. Further west, regime forces continue to pound Misratah with artillery and tank fire.
However, the noose is tightening around Gaddafi as more officials in his government defect to anti-regime forces.
Former foreign minister Ali Abdessalam Treki has become the latest Libyan public figure to abandon Gaddafi. He was designated to be Libya’s next envoy to the United Nations.
On Wednesday, Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa fled to the UK and is now being questioned by British intelligence officials.
Meanwhile, there are reports that a key figure in Gaddafi’s regime, Mohammed Ismail, has been in London in the past few days for talks with British officials.
Ismail is an aide to one of Gaddafi’s sons and it seems that the envoy may have wanted to explore a possible exit strategy for the Libyan leader.
The British government has refused to comment.
China, Russia, Arab League and the African union have condemned Western air strikes.
Experts say the main motive behind the Western attack on Libya is the vast oil reserves of the North African country.
This article was posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 at 8:31 am