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Libya claims number of civilians killed in NATO attack

Sunday June 19, 2011 08:36:22 PM, Agencies

Tripoli: Libyan officials June 19 claimed that a number of civilians had been killed in a NATO air strike in eastern Tripoli in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"There was intentional and deliberate targeting of the civilian houses," Khaled Kaim, Libya's deputy foreign minister, said.

"This is another sign of the brutality of the West."

 

Reporters were taken by Libyan government officials to a residential area in the city's Arada neighbourhood and saw a body pulled out of the rubble of a destroyed building.

There were heaps of rubble and chunks of shattered concrete at the scene, which a large crowd of what appeared to be local residents were helping to clear.

At a local hospital, reporters were shown three bodies, including a child, which government officials said were people killed in the air strike.

One of the bodies was covered with debris and dust. Reporters were also shown a wounded child.

"Basically, this is another night of murder, terror and horror in Tripoli caused by NATO," Moussa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said at the hospital. Five families were living in the building which was hit, he said.

It could not be immediately verified whether the three bodies had come from the destroyed building.

The most recent figures from Libya's health ministry show 856 civilians have been killed in NATO air raids since they began in March. The figure could not be independently confirmed.

Previous government-announced tolls from individual attacks have proven to be exaggerated.

NATO, which has a mandate to protect Libyan civilians, has been stepping up the pressure on Muammar Gaddafi as a four-month uprising devolved into a civil war. It rejects allegations it targets civilians.

On previous occasions when reporters have been taken to see fresh air raids, the ruins of shattered buildings would typically still be smoking so soon after being hit.

There did not appear to be any smoke at the site that was reported to have been attacked by NATO.

Mike Bracken, a NATO spokesman, denied the Libyan claims. He told Al Jazeera that NATO only targeted a surface-to-air missile site in Tripoli.


 

 

 

 


 

 

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