Friday, April 01, 2011

US Admits Killing Libyan Civilians

US admits killing Libyan civilians

Fri Apr 1, 2011 2:12PM

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.

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.

US-led airstrikes kill dozens in Libya

Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:45PM

Dozens have died from US-led airstrikes in Libya as running battles persist between revolutionary forces and government troops on the outskirts of Brega.

Opposition forces have returned fire with rockets and rocket-propelled grenades to shelling by forces loyal to ruler Muammer Gaddafi in the eastern oil city of Brega. This is as the opposition tries to prevent the government from retaking nearby Ajdabiya The Guardian reported.

The clashes come one day after Gaddafi's forces recaptured the eastern oil town of Ras Lanuf and forced the opposition to flee further east.

On Wednesday, Libyan's Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa left his post and defected to London. Tripoli's government spokesman says Koussa resigned to undergo medical treatment in Tunisia.

British Foreign Minister William Hague says London has not offered immunity to Koussa and the British authorities are now debriefing him.

NATO is now in full command from the US of all Libyan operations. NATO's chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said arming the rebels against Gaddafi's regime is beyond the scope of the Western military alliance's operations.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also rejected the idea of arming the revolutionary forces.

Reports say that US and British agents are scoping out targets for airstrikes and assessing how to assist revolutionary forces.

This comes as French diplomatic representatives and a US diplomatic envoy have met with the opposition leadership in the eastern city of Benghazi. The exact topic of the talks remains unclear.

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